Kirk Cousins Will Play Another Season on the Franchise Tag
When the clock struck 4:00 P.M. eastern time Monday afternoon the NFL’s deadline for signing players who have been given the franchise tag to more than a one-year deal officially ended without a long-term deal for Kirk Cousins. The turn of events shouldn’t be all that shocking for those who have kept an eye on this situation over the last couple of years.
The Redskins clearly want Cousins to be their quarterback of the present/future. Their most recent offer was said to have included $53 million fully guaranteed ($72 for injuries) which would have made him the second highest-paid player by average per year in NFL history.
#Redskins President Bruce Allen addresses Kirk Cousins contract negotiations. pic.twitter.com/l4C7fNyYTz
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) July 17, 2017
It would appear that the Cousins camp is viewing his market value as being the same as his franchise tag value, meaning he/his agent truly believes he should make $24-$29 million a year. If Cousins doesn’t want to sign in Washington next season the Redskins still have options; they could re-sign him to the franchise tag at $34+ million depending on what the tag is set at for 2018 or transition tag him. If the Redskins are indeed looking to sign Cousins long-term they could force his hand with the transition tag as they would have first right to match or refuse to match any offer he would get on the open market. Of course, he could just sign that too and play out the third year on the tag system. While most players run from the thought of being tagged, Cousins runs toward it…just a few years ago this would be viewed as madness.
Redskins fans may look to blame the Redskins front office (mainly Bruce Allen, who handles the finances) for the lack of a deal, but the truth is former GM Scot McCloughan (was in charge of personnel) had the best chance of signing Cousins but felt he was more a quarterback who should make in the $12-16 million range and didn’t push for a deal in 2015. McCloughan never had intentions of wanting Cousins signed to a long-term deal at $20 million per season. While Allen is not without fault, he has actually been actively attempting to make an offer to Cousins in recent months, albeit an offer the Cousins camp is obviously not interested in. The Cousins camp seems completely content with playing out these one0year contracts.
Cousins, who became the first quarterback to play out a full season on the franchise tag last year, will now do so again for the second straight year. He will now play the 2017 season for the franchise tender of $23,943,600 and is currently guaranteed nothing further if he were to get injured.
#Redskins offered Kirk Cousins $22.5M a year and low 50's in GTD money. Not enough to accept. Again, time to get a deal done was last year.
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) July 17, 2017
Cousins is fresh off the heels of 9,083 yards passing, with 54 touchdowns while starting the last 32 straight games for the Redskins. He’s a natural for Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden’s offensive scheme and has turned into a team leader in his two years as the team’s starter. His critics are also quick to point out he’s had his struggles in big games and against winning teams. Cousins has also been vocal in the media saying he wasn’t all about the money.
“I like Coach Jay Gruden’s quote where he said, ‘I’m not really worried about it because we got him for this year and that’s really all that matters,'” said Cousins. “That’s the way I’ve always felt. There are so many guys on this team on one-year deals. Even if it says it’s a three or four-year contract, really the only guarantees are this year. Many of us are playing on one-year deals. I’m not the only one and we’re not going to have careers if we don’t have a great year this year, so we all don’t look much further than this season.”
[Featured Image by Keith Allison/Flickr Images]