For the second straight season, the Redskins placed the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins, this time, the exclusive franchise tag a season after placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on the former Michigan State Spartan.
If Cousins signs the contract offer, he will be guaranteed nearly $24 million for the 2017 season.
The expected contract maneuver from the Washington front office puts the team and quarterback in a bizarre quandary.
Team and player can negotiate towards a long-term deal until a July 15 deadline, but after that, the franchise tag locks in and there can be no more contract talk until after the 2017 season.
Cousins agent Mike McCartney made the news official on Tuesaday afternoon.
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If that scenario sounds familiar, it’s because the exact same thing played out between Cousins and the ‘Skins last year. The two sides could not agree on a deal then, and it would not be a shock if negotiations again stall.
What leverage, if any, Washington has against Cousins at this point will be interesting to see. As of now, Cousins has the option to make $24 million this season, a 20 percent raise from his near $20 million salary in 2016, with the very real option of unmitigated free agency in 2018.
All along, Cousins has said he views the tag as a sign that the team wants him and has given no indication that he won’t play under the tag. Many other players elsewhere in the NFL have refused to sign the tag and entered into hostile contract talks with their teams.
The tag could also open the door for trade possibilities, as Cousins and his representatives can talk about contracts with other teams.
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