The Redskins have placed the exclusive franchise tag on Kirk Cousins but that does not guarantee that he will be in a Redskins uniform in 2017.
Had the Redskins gone with the non-exclusive franchise tag, Cousins would have been able to negotiate with other teams, with the Redskins having the option of either matching an offer or getting compensation from the other team instead.
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As the name would imply the exclusive tag will block Cousins from negotiating with other teams without the Redskins’ permission. Once he signs the tender, which he likely will do within the next few days, the salary, which will be in the neighborhood of $24 million, will be fully guaranteed.
But the tag doesn’t end the process. The Redskins have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term deal. If they don’t believe they can get that done they can trade is rights to another team. As a practical matter, the receiving team would want to sign Cousins to a new contract before giving up much of value for him. That’s where the part about the Redskins being able to give him permission to speak to another team comes in.
By giving Cousins the exclusive tag, however, the Redskins are sending a signal that they want to keep Cousins around long term. If they were more interested in dealing him before he likely becomes a free agent in 2018 the non-exclusive tag would have been the way to go.
Still, this has a long way to go. The Redskins may have to make Cousins the highest-paid quarterback in the game to lock him up for the next four or five years.
Nobody is saying that Cousins in the best in the business or even in the top half dozen signal callers in the game but the system is such that he might be able to get over $24 million per year.
Stay tuned to see how this turns out. Unlike last year, when Cousins getting the tag and signing it quickly was the end of the process, this could be only the beginning.
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