Kirk Cousins being franchise tagged by Washington ‘remains a high likelihood’

One of the most interesting players to follow this NFL offseason is Kirk Cousins, who may or may not be a member of the Washington Redskins in 2017.

Washington wants to retain him, but contract negotiations between the two parties haven’t gone swimmingly to this point. For his part, Cousins has made it clear he’s shooting for huge money in his next deal.

Touching on all this in a column on the Washington Post, Mike Jones delves into the tricky waters Washington and Cousins are moving into as the new league year approaches.

“The Redskins hope that Gruden as play-caller and Cavanaugh as O.C. ensures a seamless transition, but the future of Cousins remains unresolved,” Jones writes. “Gruden and team president Bruce Allen remain adamant that Cousins will remain with the team. But is that franchise tag, or long-term deal? The Redskins prefer the latter, but well aware of differing opinions within the organization regarding his ceiling and worth, the quarterback still is a little salty and will not give a hometown discount. Things could change quickly, but there are no indications that the sides are venturing closer in negotiations, and so the franchise tag remains a high likelihood.”

Should Cousins get the tag this year after failed long-term negotiations, then he’d be set to earn $24 million. If he played well again in 2017 but the team still didn’t want to pay him what he believes he’s worth, then another franchise tag in 2018 would jump all the way up to $35 million.

Then there’s the whole aspect where the Redskins aren’t the only team interested in Cousins’ services. Both the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers are rumored to covet his services (more on that here), and both franchises have loads of cap space to make a deal Cousins would sign. Of course, if Cousins is tagged, then one of those teams would have to give the Redskins a chance to match (if he’s on the non-exclusive tag) and would have to give up a couple of first-round draft picks if Washington does not match.

With that in mind, it seems like Cousins is destined to remain in Washington, at least for one more year.