With just two business days remaining before the end of the negotiating period, two possible paths to a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins remain for the Redskins. Both are long shots, but that doesn't mean one or the other can't happen.
Remember, Cousins will be locked into a one-year franchise tag worth $24 million for the 2017 season unless Washington and the quarterback's representatives agree to a new contract before 4 p.m. on Monday. How can that be avoided?
- Cousins blinks - The central part of this contract dispute centers on the major amount of leverage that Kirk Cousins holds in contract talks. If he doesn't sign long-term now, he will make $24 million in 2017, and should the Redskins elect to tag him again in 2018, he will make at least another $28 million. That's on top of the $20 million he made on the franchise tag in 2016. So, projecting out, Cousins will make at least $52 million in the next two years, and potentially much, much more should he hit free agency. There is, however, the allure of guaranteed money. NFL contracts are not guaranteed. Odds are the Redskins will make one legit contract offer, guaranteeing at least the $52 million but likely much more, before Monday's deadline. To actually pursue the free agency path, Cousins will have to look at an offer to make him a wildly rich man, and turn it down. it's possible, though not probable, as the clock approaches the final minutes of this negotiation, Cousins will want the very lucrative bird in hand rather than the millions upon millions possibly in the bush. Some analysts and former players think this exact scenario could play out. Outlook: Unlikely
- Money talks - Throughout the contract process with Cousins, both in 2016 and now in 2017, the Redskins have shown a hesitancy to offer Cousins the top-of-the-market money his situation dictates. The argument over if Cousins is worth being the highest paid player in the NFL seems largely moot; scarcity at the QB position throughout the NFL will force the issue. For the Redskins to get a signature on the dotted line, team owner Dan Snyder must decide to get a deal done, regardless of the cost. What that might look like remains to be seen, but assuredly, there is a dollar figure that would get Kirk Cousins to sign with Washington beyond 2017. This could mean more than $75 million guaranteed, an outrageous figure, but the word for weeks has been that Snyder took a more active role in contract talks with the Cousins camp. Outlook: Still unlikely, but more possible than the first scenario.
If one of the above doesn't happen, and neither seems likely, Monday will probably be a slow news day.
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BREAKING: Every seat at FedEx Field will now have a cup holder— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) July 12, 2017
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