It seems like Monday's franchise tag deadline will come and go without much news between Kirk Cousins and the Redskins. The quarterback is currently slated to play on a one-year, $24 million deal in 2017, and unless a contract breakthrough takes place over the weekend, that looks to be the plan for this season.
The intrigue then all begins again in 2018.
Washington will have three options with Cousins then:
- Make a deal - Get a new contract signed in the time after the season ends and before the team must decide to use another tag, either franchise or transition.
- Tag you're it - The team can again tag Cousins, for a third straight season. The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag and lets the QB market his services around the league, which the Redskins can then match. Another franchise tag would cost $34 million, and Cousins' options for talking with other teams are either non-existent or much more limited than the transition tag. Not to mention, $34 million guaranteed for one season is unheard of, it's hard to imagine a scenario where that money gets turned down.
- So long - The final option in 2018 is Cousins hits free agency unfettered and can go to the team of his choice. This seems the least likely option, but the entirety of the Cousins contract saga has been bizarre so who knows what will happen.
It is important to note, however, that the Redskins will have plenty of cap room in 2018. $54 million to be exact. That much money would allow them to match just about any offer that might come for Cousins should he be given the transition tag.
One report suggested that two NFL general managers are prepared to front-load offers for Cousins in 2018 to make it hard for the Redskins to match.
Immense speculation points to the 49ers wanting Cousins, especially given the ties between new coach Kyle Shanahan and the Washington quarterback. San Francsico projects to be about $50 million under the 2018 salary cap, meaning they actually have less available money than the Redskins. Those figures can change, and San Francisco could have a lot of money roll over from the 2017 cap.
For Redskins fans worried about the 49ers spending recklessly to sign Cousins, know that the actual cap numbers might not support the theory. Would the Niners pay Cousins as much as the franchise tag in 2018? Maybe, but that's a prohibitive figure.
Realize too, however, that Washington has now had two offseasons to try and work out a multi-year deal with Cousins. It hasn't happened, and hasn't really even appeared close to happening.
It's entirely possible that should Cousins find a major dollar offer next year in free agency, the Redskins won't match it. That doesn't mean they can't.
Salary cap figures courtesy Overthecap.com.
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