The Washington Redskins are at least considering the option to use the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins next year if no long-term deal can be struck.
Team president Bruce Allen said as much when asked if the franchise tag is an option in 2018.
“Yes,” he said, via JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract.”
As Finlay notes, the option Allen refers to is actually three-fold. They can use the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. The exclusive and non-exclusive tags both carry the same cost, which is roughly $34-35 million next year, while the transition tag would be closer to $28 million.
If Washington were to use the non-exclusive tag, then it Cousins could look for a long-term deal elswhere in the meantime. If he did land on another team, then Washington would receive two first-round picks in compensation.
The transition tag is cheaper, but it also comes with plenty of risk as a third-round pick would be the team’s only compensation if he does end up with another team.
“I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one,” Allen said. “Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons.”
Cousins reportedly wasn’t interested in working out a long-term deal with Washington as of a couple months ago. It’s going to be interesting to see how things play out as he and his current team play out this string over the course of the next eight months or so. Obviously, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for him financially if he does see another franchise tag next year, because all that money is guaranteed.
Still, you have to believe he’d rather play for a team that believed in him enough to extend a long-term contract, which would include even more guaranteed cash.