Cousins set to play 2017 on $23.9M tag

The Redskins and Cousins could not reach an agreement on a contract before Mondays deadline.

Geoff Burke—USA TODAY Sports
May 24

Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins became the first quarterback to play under the franchise tag for a second consecutive season after failing to sign a long-term deal on Monday.Cousins, who will made $23.9 million this season, and the Redskins can’t negotiate a long-term deal until the season ends by virtue of being unable to come to an agreement by Monday’s deadline.”Our goal was to sign Kirk to a long-term contract with the final objective of having him finish his career with the Redskins,” team president Bruce Allen said in a statement.Allen said the Redskins made Cousins an offer on May 2 “that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury.”The statement from Allen indicates that the Redskins were willing to give Cousins a lot of money. But it largely ignores the reality of the situation in Washington. Cousins is set to make $23.9 million this year on the franchise tag. If the Redskins use the transition tag on him for 2018, the bare minimum he will be guaranteed over the next two years is approximately $52.7 million. If he agreed to a five-year deal with Washington that featured $53 million in guaranteed money, he would be accepting a contract that essentially gave him an additional $300,000 in exchange for giving the Redskins control over him for an additional three years.Allen said the deal would have made Cousins at least the second highest-paid player by average per year in NFL history.”But despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk’s agent this year,” Allen continued. “Kirk has made it clear that he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis. While we would have liked to work out a long-term contract before this season, we accept his decision.”Allen is referencing an offer that came before Derek Carr and the Raiders worked out a five-year, $125 million contract this offseason. The 28-year-old is open to working a deal with the Redskins after this season, a source familiar with the situation told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Cousins himself said on 106.7 the Fan in D.C. that he was not offended by the Redskins statement.Two of Cousins former offensive coordinators are in situations that bear monitoring as far as the quarterback position goes. Kyle Shanahan is now the 49ers head coach, with only Brian Hoyer as his quarterback. Sean McVay is the Rams coach, although Los Angeles used the No. 1 pick on Jared Goff in the 2016 NFL Draft.Cousins threw for 4,917 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2016 and also posted a 97.2 passer rating last season. Cousins’ 12,113 yards in five seasons with Washington ranks sixth on the franchise’s all-time passing yards list. He is 239 yards behind Billy Kilmer for fifth.