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Exploring the three tag options Redskins have available for Kirk Cousins

Exploring the three tag options Redskins have available for Kirk Cousins

Wednesday marks the opening of the two-week tag period around the NFL. That means the Redskins have three distinct options for Kirk Cousins, should they choose to go that route. A quick reminder of the differences between the three options below, and remember, teams have until 4 p.m. on March 1 to place a tag on a player. Teams can only use one tag per year. 

  • Exclusive - This tag gives the player no opportunity to negotiate with other teams. If the Redskins tag Cousins with the exclusive tag in 2017, he will be due roughly $24 million, a 20 percent increase of his $20 million salary in 2016.
  • Non-Exclusive - Under this tag, players can negotiate with any team in the league. Should the player and another team agree to terms, the incumbent team has the option to match the deal. If the incumbent team chooses not to match, they are due two first-round picks as compensation. This tag opens up the door for trade scenarios, and Washington used the non-exclusive tag on Cousins in 2016. Like the exclusive option, this tag would pay Cousins $24 million in 2017.
  • Transition - Similar to the non-exclusive tag, the transition tag allows a player to negotiate with any team in the NFL and the home team gets the option to match any new deal. Unlike the non-exclusive tag, the transition tag does not offer compensation for the incumbent team should the player reach a deal elsewhere. The transition tag in 2017 would bring the same 120 percent raise as the other tags for Cousins, but in 2018, it might be an advantage for the team. Should the 'Skins not reach a long-term deal with Cousins, the team could transition him next year and only pay another 120 percent raise, instead of the 144 percent required by the franchise tag in a third straight season. This year, however, the transition tag has little to no usefulness for Washington. 

Should the Redskins place any tag on Cousins, it's unlikely it would come on the first day the team has the option. Last year, Washington did not place the non-exclusive tag on Cousins until hours before the deadline. Once tagged, any player has until July 15 to work towards a long-term deal.

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Need to Know: Redskins starters quick hitters, defense—Year 3 huge for Preston Smith

Need to Know: Redskins starters quick hitters, defense—Year 3 huge for Preston Smith

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 27, 31 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 21
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 46
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 58
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 110
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 158

Redskins starters quick hitters—defense

DE Stacy McGee—He had his best season last year despite missing seven games with a lingering ankle injury. McGee had just half a sack and no forced fumbled in his first three seasons. Last year he got 2.5 sacks and two FF’s. Improving with experience or turning it on for a contract year? We’ll see.

DE Terrell McClain—The Redskins will be his fifth NFL team in seven seasons, an unusual career path for a one-time third-round pick. Like McGee, in 2016 he exceeded his previous career totals in sacks and forced fumbles.

NT Phil Taylor—Yes, he’s the starter if the season began today. Taylor got off to a nice start after the Browns make him a first-round pick in 2011, starting 16 games and registering four sacks as a rookie. But injuries have taken their toll and he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. He is far from certain to play in 2017, either, if the Redskins can get a good nose tackle candidate in the draft.

ILB Will Compton—Compton is a defensive captain and while he doesn’t make a ton of big plays, his interception in London likely prevented a loss to the Bengals. Still, the Redskins gave him the minimum restricted free agent tender, a sign that they think they could recover if another team signed him away.

ILB Mason Foster—Should the Redskins draft an ILB who can start early, Foster likely will go back into the nickel linebacker role he assumed when Su’a Cravens was out injured.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Although his income has jumped up to eight-figure territory he still drives the same Chevy SUV he’s had for several years. That sort of attitude will serve him well as his career goes on.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

OLB Preston Smith—The third year is huge for Smith, who has had flashes of dominance followed by weeks of near invisibility. If we see the Smith who showed up against the Vikings more often he could be in line for a big contract extension. But if he’s a no-show too often, edge rusher will appear at the top of the Redskins’ needs list in 2018.

CB Josh Norman—Hopefully, Greg Manusky will have Norman on the other team’s No. 1 receiver from the first snap of Week 1 on. The Redskins were 0-2 before Joe Barry started having Norman shadow and that had them behind the eight ball all year.

CB Bashaud Breeland—He always has a “it’s me vs. the world and all the haters” type of mentality, which is good for a cornerback. It will be interesting to see how he performs in a contract year.

SS Su’a Cravens—Some are skeptical that he has the coverage skills to be a quality strong safety. We won’t really know until he does it.

FS D.J. Swearinger—There also is skepticism regarding the free agent signee. Can he play free safety after playing strong for most of his career? He did it some in Arizona last year but we’ll have to see if his aggressive style will work while being the last line of defense week in and week out.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Don't believe trade hype: Bruce Allen insists Kirk Cousins will be Redskins quarterback in 2017

Don't believe trade hype: Bruce Allen insists Kirk Cousins will be Redskins quarterback in 2017

Kirk Cousins will be the Redskins quarterback in 2017. Period. At least that's the word from team president Bruce Allen.

"That's why we franchised him," Allen said of Cousins.

Asked about numerous trade rumors and reports on the Redskins single season passing record holder, Allen dismissed them all.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 6.0

Allen has spoken with Cousins representatives a number of times this offseason, and the organization still wants to get a long-term deal done with their passer. 

"Our goal from the beginning has been long-term," the team president said. "I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The team could again use a tag on Cousins, an option Allen mentioned. 

MORE REDSKINS: Exclusive: Allen answers questions on McCloughan firing