Wednesday marks the opening of the two-week tag period around the NFL. That means the Redskins have three distinct options for Kirk Cousins, should they choose to go that route. A quick reminder of the differences between the three options below, and remember, teams have until 4 p.m. on March 1 to place a tag on a player. Teams can only use one tag per year. 

  • Exclusive - This tag gives the player no opportunity to negotiate with other teams. If the Redskins tag Cousins with the exclusive tag in 2017, he will be due roughly $24 million, a 20 percent increase of his $20 million salary in 2016.
  • Non-Exclusive - Under this tag, players can negotiate with any team in the league. Should the player and another team agree to terms, the incumbent team has the option to match the deal. If the incumbent team chooses not to match, they are due two first-round picks as compensation. This tag opens up the door for trade scenarios, and Washington used the non-exclusive tag on Cousins in 2016. Like the exclusive option, this tag would pay Cousins $24 million in 2017.
  • Transition - Similar to the non-exclusive tag, the transition tag allows a player to negotiate with any team in the NFL and the home team gets the option to match any new deal. Unlike the non-exclusive tag, the transition tag does not offer compensation for the incumbent team should the player reach a deal elsewhere. The transition tag in 2017 would bring the same 120 percent raise as the other tags for Cousins, but in 2018, it might be an advantage for the team. Should the 'Skins not reach a long-term deal with Cousins, the team could transition him next year and only pay another 120 percent raise, instead of the 144 percent required by the franchise tag in a third straight season. This year, however, the transition tag has little to no usefulness for Washington. 

Should the Redskins place any tag on Cousins, it's unlikely it would come on the first day the team has the option. Last year, Washington did not place the non-exclusive tag on Cousins until hours before the deadline. Once tagged, any player has until July 15 to work towards a long-term deal.


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