According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, league sources have informed him that the Washington Redskins are likely to use one of their tags on quarterback Kirk Cousins.
The league source also told Schefter that the Redskins must decide whether to use their franchise tag or their transition tag on Cousins.
If the Redskins decide to use their franchise tag, they could use the exclusive franchise tag which would prevent Cousins from talking to or negotiating with any NFL team except for the Redskins. Then there is the non-exclusive franchise tag which gives all the teams in the NFL the option to work out a contract with Cousins, but any such contract would require that team trying to sign him to trade two of their first-round Draft picks to Washington.
A transition tag would allow the former Michigan State quarterback to negotiate with any team in the league, but given the fact that the Redskins wouldn’t receive any compensation for Cousins if they were unable to match an offer, makes them using this particular tag very unlikely.
With the 2016 NFL season salary cap projected to be $153 million, the franchise tag for a quarterback would be worth approximately $19.6 million while the transition tag would be worth $17.5 million. Making the franchise tag more appealing to the Redskins because of the security it provides. Teams have until March 1, to apply the tags.
A team source told Schefter last week that the Redskins had broken off negotiations with their starting quarterback, but this past Wednesday both head coach Jay Gruden and general manager Scot McCloughan said they wanted to reach a long-term agreement with Cousins.
Cousins, 27, was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Redskins, which was three rounds after they drafted Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick. Cousins would spend the next three seasons as Griffin’s backup before being named the starter prior to the 2015 season.
The 2015 season got off to a slow start for Cousins and the Redskins. Washington went 2-4 in its first six games while Cousins threw eight interceptions to only six touchdown passes. The next ten games were a different story however, as Cousins got hot and the Redskins got on a roll. Cousins would throw 23 touchdown passes with only three interceptions and the Redskins went 7-3 in those ten games to finish the season 9-7, which was good enough to capture the NFC East title.
Cousins would finish the 2015 season with 4,166 yards passing with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 69.8% of his passes.