One huge issue hangs over the Washington Redskins offseason - what will happen with free agent QB Kirk Cousins. And, at least according to one report, the two sides are nowhere close to a deal. GM Scot McCloughan last talked to reporters at the Senior Bowl, and his message on Cousins was that he hoped the quarterback would stay in Washington but a new deal was not a certainty.
CBS' Jason La Canfora reported that "Cousins and the Washington Redskins were nowhere close to a new deal coming out of the Senior Bowl, sources said, and Washington very well might have to apply the franchise tag in order to retain primary negotiating rights on the quarterback."
On the surface, none of this is new. McCloughan has been crystal clear that the franchise tag is an option for Cousins, and some could argue that it's the correct course. While Cousins put up strong stats in 2015, he was up and down for much of the season before closing the year on a very impressive streak. It's not unheard of for a QB to roll off one great year and to fall back the following season; perhaps McCloughan wants to see Cousins produce for another year before opening up the bank vaults.
The flip side, however, is that if the Redskins do apply the franchise tag to Cousins, and the QB performs well again in 2016, the cost to keep Kirk will jump. Look at what happened to Baltimore with Joe Flacco when he was allowed to play out his contract as an example. Flacco delivered, mightily, and the subsequent $100 million plus deal has been an albatross to the Ravens ever since. The comparison isn't exact, but the point remains that trouble can arise letting Cousins play 2016 on a franchise tag.
Then there is the elephant in the Redskins room: Robert Griffin III. If the report is true and McCloughan and Cousins' representatives are truly nowhere close on a deal, might that have any impact on the 'Skins reluctance to release RG3? Sure, McCloughan has until March 9 to release Griffin, and the GM may just be taking his time. But if the negotiations between Washington and Cousins are truly breaking down, maybe Griffin is more in play for 2016 than most expect.
It seems a stretch. A big one. Smart money would still suggest that the Redskins work out a deal with Cousins, and this is all just negotiating tactics, but something to keep an eye on for the next few weeks.