Kirk Cousins not expected to sign a long-term deal before franchise tag deadline
Kirk Cousins will be in Washington for at least one more year, but maybe not longer than that. According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Cousins is not expected to sign a long-term deal by Monday’s franchise tag deadline, and will instead play out the season on the tag.
This is the second consecutive season that Cousins will play on the tag, which carries a one-year, fully-guaranteed contract. He made $19,953,000 during the 2016 season and will make $23,943,600 in 2017. The NFL‘s franchise tag rules make it extremely onerous for teams to use the tag on the same player multiple times, so Cousins stands to make an exorbitant guaranteed salary if Washington attempts to use it again in 2018. (The team also has the option to use the transition tag, but would receive no compensation if Cousins signed elsewhere.)
Schefter reported that Cousins is open to negotiating a long-term pact with Washington again next offseason, but the two sides have now twice been unable to come to an equitable agreement after protracted negotiations. There have been rumors throughout this offseason that he’s interested in reuniting with former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is now the head coach of the 49ers. San Francisco signed a bridge QB this offseason in Brian Hoyer and didn’t draft a future starter, so until they either settle on a QB or Cousins signs with Washington on a multi-year deal, those rumors will likely persist.
It seems unquestionable at this point that Cousins has won this standoff against Washington. By the time this season ends, he’ll have pulled down $43,896,600 in fully-guaranteed salary over the last two seasons. Because Washington is extremely unlikely to offer even the potential of a near-$35 million deal for one season, Cousins is then likely to hit the open market at age-29, which means Washington will either have to pony up huge money to keep him or he can sign where he wishes and the team will be left looking for a new quarterback of the future.