May 21, 2018

Redskins consider tagging Kirk Cousins, report says

05 February 2018, 06:08 | Ken Black

Report: Redskins May Franchise-Tag, Trade Kirk Cousins After Landing Alex Smith

Kirk Cousins breaks his silence after Redskins trade for Alex Smith

But Washington will consider placing a franchise tag on the quarterback, according to ESPN, so the team can deal him and try to regain some of the compensation it is sending to Kansas City for Alex Smith. March 12 is the date for teams to get in contact with players set to become unrestricted free agents at that 4 p.m. deadline on March 14, with a ton of action happening that week. Cousins could delay signing the franchise tag for months, preventing the Redskins from making a deal before the draft, and for awhile after.

The Washington Redskins seemingly acquired their starting quarterback going forward in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs that brought Alex Smith to Washington in exchange for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round draft pick.

Until Cousins signs the tag, Washington would be on the hook for the amount of his tag, which, because he was tagged past year, would be approximately $34.5 million, or 120 percent of his 2017 salary.

Washington tagging Cousins comes with even more risk. The Redskins may still end up playing tag and trying to get some sort of compensation for Cousins. Cousins could also undo pending trades by telling suitors he will not sign a long-term extension, lessening the desire of any interested team to part with draft picks or other players via trade.

Cousins also told NFL Live that he spoke to several members of the organization the following day, including owner Dan Snyder and coach Jay Gruden.

This free agency class is loaded, with the biggest name surely being Bell in the backfield.

If Washington simply lets Cousins walk as a free agent, it would likely receive a third-round compensatory pick in 2019. All of it. They botched the Cousins situation by refusing to pay him market value with the guaranteed money he deserved. I understood that. They wanted to do a deal, but because I wanted to go a little longer, it put them in a tough spot. However, working around a franchise tag might limit Washington's leverage. Teams can start handing out franchise tags on February 20.

The Redskins can't trade Cousins either if he does not sign under the tag. But if Cousins is valuing the chance to win as much as money, we have some clarity on what teams he'd prefer to sign with this summer.

First, and perhaps foremost, the Browns have about $112 million in cap space this offseason, which is good for second most to spend in the National Football League (behind the San Francisco 49ers, who are thought to throw a lot at mid- season acquisition Jimmy Garoppolo).

It is a decision that Washington will have to make in the coming weeks.

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