ESPN reported Sunday that the Redskins are discussing using the franchise tag to retain Cousins for the goal of seeking a trade to recoup assets after agreeing to a deal earlier this week to acquire Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs.
A report surfaced on Sunday that the Washington Redskins are still considering placing the franchise tag on their once considered franchise QB.
Cousins, 29, threw for 4,093 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season for the Redskins.
When the Washington Redskins traded for quarterback Alex Smith, most assumed Kirk Cousins would become the rarest of National Football League commodities - a top quarterback who was a true free agent in his prime.
Washington, meanwhile, faced the prospect of using a franchise tag on Cousins for a third time - to the tune of more than $34 million fully guaranteed for one year - re-sign him to a long-term deal or let him hit the open market, where he could draw the biggest contract in National Football League history.
For some teams, the idea of not having to commit to Cousins long-term could be appealing. To say nothing of fully escaping the dysfunction, bad business model and an organization in Washington that does not value him.
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But if things got hard with Cousins, could Washington rescind the franchise tag and just let him hit free agency? Now they've made a move to replace him, however unofficially at this point, and won't just let him hit the open market.
During his interviews on Radio Row on Monday, Cousins repeated much of what he said at his end-of-season event with 106.7 The Fan last month about winning being more important than money and the ball being in the Redskins' court.
Cousins won't become a free agent officially until March 14 and until then, Washington has some wiggle room to try and hold leverage over Cousins' situation.
The most Washington could receive is a third-round compensatory pick for th 2019 draft. A talented roster with three possibly zero quarterbacks entering 2018 seems like a great fit for Cousins.
More importantly, Cousins could simply refuse to sign the franchise tag. Washington would not be able to trade Cousins until he signs the franchise tag if the team does take this approach, which means Cousins may refuse to sign unless he agrees to go where he could potentially get dealt. They would have to give up a draft pick or two and pay Cousins' expected large contract.