The Redskins have made an offer in their effort to retain Kirk Cousins as their quarterback. The did so in their inital negotiating session since the Redskins gave Cousins the exclusive franchise tag earlier this week.
On Wednesday, Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, met with Erick Schaffer, who takes care of many aspects of contract negotiations for the team. According to the Washington Post, the Redskins offer was worth around $20 million per year.
Negotiations must start somewhere but it seems unlikely that the Redskins’ offer will get it done. On Tuesday, McCartney said that by giving his client the exclusive franchise tag the Redskins declared his value to be the tag salary of just under $24 million, at least for 2017. It seems unlikely that Cousins would settle for much less than that.
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This is not a typical negotiation. Cousins has most of the leverage. If they can’t come to an agreement by July 15 and Cousins plays the season on the tag the prohibitive cost of using the tag on him for the third time likely would make him an unrestricted free agent. Quality starting quarterbacks almost never hit the open market and he could end up getting well over $24 million per year. The Redskins will have to put together a very attractive offer if they want to hold on to Cousins.
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The average annual value is just one aspect of the deal that McCartney and the Redskins will have to negotiate. How much money is fully guaranteed at signing, how much Cousins would make in the first two or three years of the deal, when the team could realistically let go of the player without incurring a crippling salary cap hit, and other details will come into play. But the total money is important and unless the Redskins increase their offer they don’t stand much of a chance of getting a deal done.