Quarterback Kirk Cousins will turn 30 years old during training camp next summer.
Where he is when he blows out the candles will be one of the major NFL storylines after this season. Washington has held onto him the past two years with the franchise tag.
If Washington were to place the tag on him for an unprecedented third consecutive year, Cousins would earn $34.5 million next year.
“I know they like him,” former 49ers and Washington general manager Scot McCloughan said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “I know he likes it there. He’s been there the whole time.
“He’s battled through things and he’s shown resiliency. He’s shown leadership. The players like him. The players trust him. The coaches do, too.”
Cousins is off to a hot start this season, as the 49ers are next up on the schedule. Cousins has completed 66.1 percent of his pass attempts for 1,004 yards in four games. He has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 107.6.
“He won’t back down,” said McCloughan, who compared Cousins to Alex Smith. “He’s got a lot of football ahead of him. He takes care of himself – mentally, physically, emotionally. He’s going to be a good player, wherever he’s at -- (Washington) or somewhere else.”
Mike Shanahan was Washington's head coach and Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in 2012, when the club selected quarterback Robert Griffin with the No. 2 overall pick. In the fourth round, Washington drafted Cousins.
“I know with Mike and Kyle drafting him in Washington, they know him really well," McCloughan said. "They know what kind of guy he is.”
But it is far too early to guess where Cousins might play next season. The 49ers are one of three winless teams in the NFL, and McCloughan said he believes three quarterbacks will be selected within the top-10 of the draft. The veteran market -- free agency or trade activity -- opens in March. The draft is approximately six weeks later.
But the first move belongs to Washington, which can tag him or extend a lucrative multi-year contract offer.
“It’s a tough question to answer because there’s no solid answer for it right now,” McCloughan said.