For nearly a year, the 49ers circled Kirk Cousins like a shark looking for prey. San Francisco had gobs of cap space and the coach that drafted the Redskins quarterback.
It seemed, for months, that Washington would be forced to use an unprecedented third straight franchise tag on Cousins to keep their QB from going to the West Coast to play for Kyle Shanahan.
A funny thing happened, though.
The Niners made another move, acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots at the trade deadline in late October. Tom Brady's former backup has been great in San Francisco, winning all five games he started.
Crazy things could happen, but 49ers GM John Lynch would be nuts to let Garoppolo go now. He will be the quarterback in San Francisco going forward.
What does that mean for Cousins?
That's a very legitimate question for the Redskins. Cousins is not under contract for 2018, and a third franchise tag would cost $34 million. Without the threat of San Francisco poaching Cousins, that cost seems outrageous.
Let's be clear: Cousins will have numerous suitors should he hit free agency. There are never enough QBs in the NFL, let alone somebody with Cousins' qualifications.
The Redskins passer started the last 48 games in Washington, a new record, and has thrown for at least 4,000 yards in the last three seasons, another record. Cousins is undeniably a verified NFL starting quarterback. Teams will want him.
For the Redskns, the question will come down to cost.
For Cousins, the question might come down to options.
Assuming the 49ers are out of the picture, what is the best option for Kirk Cousins? It might very well be staying in D.C.
If that sounds ridiculous, consider that Cousins has found success playing QB in Washington the last three seasons. He knows head coach Jay Gruden's offense inside and out, and Gruden knows the strengths and weaknesses of his quarterback.
The Redskins have two of the best offensive linemen in the NFL in Brandon Scherff and Trent Williams, not to mention another stalwart in Morgan Moses. The team needs more help at the skill positions, but that could come this offseason.
Not to mention, the Redskins won seven games in 2017 even though the team sent five running backs to the injured reserve and got five starts out of Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed.
With the 49ers likely off the market, and the same for Sean McVay's Rams, the Redskins might be the best place for Cousins, if he hits free agency or not. There will be more options, however, but what makes sense?
For an evaluation of all of Cousins' potential destinations, check out the gallery below.