A little more than 24 hours after the Redskins designated Kirk Cousins as their franchise player the quarterback put pen to paper and signed the tender. While in some ways the signing is a formality it does change a few things for Cousins and for the team.
For one thing, the quarterback franchise tag salary of $19,953 million immediately becomes fully guaranteed. That means that if Cousins does not agree to a long-term deal before the season starts he will collect weekly paychecks of $1,173,705.88. That means he will make 78 percent more every week than the $660,000 he made for the entire 2015 season.
Also, the long shot chance that he would sign an offer sheet with another team that the Redskins could either match or decide to take two first-round draft picks as compensation is now down to zero. The Redskins hold his rights through 2016.
So in every way but one—we’ll get to that in a moment—Cousins is like any other player on the roster. He can go to Redskins Park to use the weight room. When voluntary workouts start on April 18 he can attend. Same for OTAs starting in late May. He will be required to attend the mandatory minicamp and report to Richmond for training camp in late July.
The one difference between Cousins and the rest of the players on the team is that he is on a time limit when it comes to negotiating a new, long-term contract. With the exception of drafted players who have been in the league for less than three years, who are locked into their contracts for the whole year, players besides Cousins can sign a new contract at any time. As the franchise player, Cousins must agree to a new deal by July 15 or he will have to work the 2016 season on the franchise tag contract.
Of course, there are worse fates that being “forced” to work for a year for those $1.17 million weekly paychecks.