All signs point to the Redskins again placing the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins, and the March 1 deadline to make that move grows ever closer.
The franchise tag, however, will not prevent the organization from making a long-term deal with the quarterback.
CBS' Jason La Canfora expects the Redkins to get a deal done with Cousins sometime this summer.
"Unlike last year, the Redskins will make a legit concerted effort to sign him to a fair-market deal (unlike the low-ball overtures of a year ago). And by July 15, I suspect Cousins has a long-term deal with Washington agreed to."
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July 15 marks the deadline for teams to negotiate with tagged players. Last year, the Redskins hardly offered Cousins more money than was guaranteed by his one-year, $20 million contract dictated by the franchise tag.
This season, that figure jumps to $24 million.
There is some debate as to what will constitute a 'fair-market deal' for Cousins. Will the Redkins passer get to the Andrew Luck level, with more than $80 million guaranteed? Will the team use the non-exclusive tag and let Cousins see what his value is with other teams?
Nothing but questions and specualtion will dominate the Cousins conversation, at least until March 1 when the 'Skins are forced to use the tag or let the QB walk to the open market. That won't happen, but it is possible the team and Cousins reach a multi-year deal before then.
Don't plan on it. The NFL is a deadline driven league. March 1, and then July 15, could prove to be the most important days in the 2017 version of the Cousins saga.
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