A week ago there were multiple reports that the Redskins were considering the transition tag for Kirk Cousins instead of the franchise tag. The thinking was that they could save about $2.3 million on Cousins’ tender and perhaps get a long-term deal done based on the quarterback’s value being determined through a true marketplace. With the transition tag the Redskins would have been able to match an offer sheet from another team and retain Cousins. Had they opted not to match there would be no compensation.
However, they opted for the franchise tag, which carried two first-round picks as compensation that a team signing Cousins would have to give up. That essentially killed any free agent market for him and he signed his tag about 24 hours after getting it.
But why did they opt for the franchise tag? It may have been due to some potential interest from the team just up I-95.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Redskins were concerned that the Eagles, who were negotiating with Sam Bradford, would try to pry Cousins out of Washington. The Eagles would have about $30 million in cap room right now had they not signed Bradford and that may have been enough to construct a deal that it would have been difficult for the Redskins to match. That may have been a factor in the decision to lock up Cousins with the franchise tag.
The Eagles’ potential interest in Cousins was at least partially confirmed by the fact that they signed Bradford to a two-year, $36 million contract the day after the Redskins tagged Cousins. It appears that they may have settled for Bradford when the guy that they really wanted, Cousins, came off of the market.
PFT pointed out that the Redskins were smart to ensure that they were on another QB deal gone bad with the Eagles. In 2010 they sent a pair of draft picks to the Eagles for Donovan McNabb, a trade that didn’t work out for Washington.
You know, fool me once, shame on you . . .