The rumors aren't new. The first reports came out more than a month ago. Yet, momentum continues to build around a trade sending Kirk Cousins to the 49ers.
The NFL's legal tampering period opened Tuesday at noon, and little actual news broke on the unofficial start to 2017 free agency. In a way, something has to fill that void, and that something is Cousins trade rumors.
Unfortunately for Redskins fans that want to keep their quarterback, the increased talk surrounding Cousins leaving Washington is not something to be easily dismissed. In fact, it's the opposite, and there is mounting evidence why.
In 2016, the 'Skins placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, and the quarterback moved quick to sign the offer.
In 2017, the 'Skins placed the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, and more than a week has passed without a signature on the tender.
The delay in signing the offer creates some natural questions around Cousins' desire to stay in Burgundy and Gold. On top of that, reports showed that the Redskins offered Cousins a long-term deal worth $100 million. Not the peak of the market Cousins can likely earn, but still a legit offer. The Cousins camp turned that down.
At this point, it seems possible Cousins might want out of D.C. It's also almost a certainty Cousins wants to maximize his value before signing any multi-year deal.
Additionally, there is the situation at Redskins Park. General manager Scot McCloughan did not travel with the Redskins front office to the NFL Scouting Combine last week. On Tuesday, McCloughan was not with the team in their Ashburn offices. Whatever the reason for McCloughan's absence, it adds uncertainty to the equation.
That uncertainty, combined with Cousins not signing his $24 million franchise tender yet and a lull in contract talks, breeds speculation.
And then there is San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan knows Cousins can run his offense, and is in a position to go for what he wants with the Niners.
Really no sense in giving Shanahan a 6-year deal and then deciding NOT to go after the QB he wants.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) March 8, 2017
The Redskins are also in a tight spot with Cousins. If a long-term deal can't be reached, does Washington want to let their quarterback play again on a one-year deal and risk losing him with no compensation next season? To get compensation, the team likely needs to act quick, certainly before the draft.
Plenty of league sources seem convinced that Cousins is on his way out, either this offseason or a year from now.
The more people I talk to about Kirk Cousins the more I'm convinced that there is ZERO chance he's with the Redskins past this season.— Dan Hellie (@DanHellie) March 8, 2017
Charley Casserly knows the Redskins well. He worked in the team's front office for more than a decade, earning three Super Bowl rings and serving as GM of the 1991 world champs. He also knows the NFL well. He's worked with the league as an advisor for years, ran the Houston Texans for a time, and is well plugged in.
Casserly released a mock draft on Tuesday, and sure enough, he had the Redskins picking No. 2 overall. Currently, San Francisco has the second pick. That means Casserly sees a trade happening too.
The noise is growing. That doesn't always mean a move will happen, especially this early in the offseason, but it's getting harder and harder to ignore.
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