Washington will place the franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins for the second consecutive year. This time around he will make nearly $24 million, fully guaranteed, on the one-year deal on an exclusive tag. The real question is whether Washington can lock up their franchise quarterback this offseason or risk losing him after this season.
Last March, the 28-year-old quickly signed the franchise tender Washington offered him. The contract was worth $19.95 million for one year. Cousins went on to have a great season in 2016, throwing for 4,917 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
Cousins confirmed the tag Tuesday afternoon:
Tag! I'm it!— Kirk Cousins (@KirkCousins8) February 28, 2017
There were rumors that Cousins would only accept a trade to the San Francisco 49ers, but NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday afternoon that Washington wouldn't be seeking a trade for Cousins.
He finished the season with a 97.2 quarterback rating. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, as well.
Because Cousins was tagged last year, he’s entitled to a 120 percent raise, according to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. That also sets the floor for any eventual long-term deal with Washington, a yearly average around that $24 million mark.
July 15 is deadline for teams and players who signed franchise tenders to reach an agreement on a long-term contract, so Cousins’ representatives and Washington have a lot of time to negotiate.
If Washington and Cousins can’t reach a deal by that date, they could technically tag him a third time in 2018. However, that would cost the team upwards of $34 million in fully guaranteed money for just one season.
Cousins is reportedly looking for a deal with $50 to $60 million in guaranteed money — the going rate for franchise quarterbacks — spanning four or five years and worth as much as $110 million or more.
Cousins said he wanted to return to D.C. In January, he made it clear that he wants to be there for the long haul.
Kirk Cousins on returning to DC: "I'd love to build something in Washington, we'll see if the decision-makers let that happen."— Dave Richard (@daverichard) January 25, 2017
Most players do not want to play under the franchise tag in two consecutive seasons, but Cousins isn't like most players in that regard. He said last month he would do what he did last year if Washington offered to franchise tag him: sign the tender and play.
"We will cross that bridge when we come to it, but I would probably do what I did last year," he told ESPN. "I will sign it and play with it. I'm not afraid."
Washington’s team president Bruce Allen said Cousins "knows our intent. The goal is to get long term," according to CSNMidAtlantic.com
Cousins is the first quarterback and 14th player in league history to ever get the franchise tag in back-to-back seasons. He is also only the third quarterback, along with Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, to get it twice.