The Washington Redskins can place the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins at any point right now. The window for them doing so opened earlier this week and remains open until the start of March.
For a while now, it’s been a foregone conclusion that the Redskins would do this. Heck, even Cousins himself seems okay with the idea of having to play under a one-year deal.
Though, there’s now a report coming out from MMQB’s Albert Breer indicating that there’s some internal resistance within the Redskins’ organization to handing Cousins the franchise tag for a second consecutive year.
“And there’s been internal resistance to the idea of a second tag going back to when the Skins put the first tag on him last March,” Breer reports.
As the insider notes, this resistance stems from the fact that franchising Cousins now would guarantee the quarterback nearly $24 million for the 2017 season. That in and of itself would decrease the possibility of them agreeing to a long-term deal with Cousins prior to the start of the season.
It’s a rather interesting stance.
If Cousins were to sign the franchise tender, he would then be in a position of power from a negotiating standpoint. The market next year for quarterbacks promises to be better. This means his contract value itself would increase. Why sign a deal now when you are already guaranteed nearly $24 million?
For the Redskins’ part, they are somewhat stuck here. If the team were to franchise Cousins for a third year next February, that would likely guarantee Cousins north of $30 million on another one-year deal.
The issue here is that letting Cousins test free agency doesn’t seem like an optimal idea. With what will likely be north of $100 million to spend in free agency, the San Francisco 49ers could make it hard for Washington to retain cousins. That’s only magnified by Kyle Shanahan’s presence on the 49ers and Cousins’ own admiration for the team’s new brass, his former offensive coordinator included.
Other quarterback-needy teams such as the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears are also in better cap situations than the Redskins. Simply put, letting Cousins hit free agency would likely result in his departure.