NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday morning that barring the unforeseen, there is a strong indication Cousins will play out his tag, according to sources informed of the situation.
Both sides are OK with the one-year, $23.94 million pact, per Rapoport. Once the deadline passes, the team and quarterback cannot agree to a new contract until next offseason.
All the signs point to Cousins playing out another season on the franchise tag. After making $19.95 million in 2016, the Redskins quarterback will pocket $43.89 million for two years of work.
With no multi-year deal in sight, Washington will head into next offseason with a large question at quarterback. It could tag Cousins a third time for an astronomical sum of about $35 million or transition tag him for around $28 million, which would allow the Redskins to match any offer he receives from another team. The final option is let Cousins hit free agency and possibly watch him walk to the highest bidder. If he hits the open market, there will be no shortage of suitors — with the quarterback’s former coordinator Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco likely being the first in line.
Cousins certainly should be comfortable playing out the tag. He has all the leverage, no history of injury to threaten his long-term earnings and knows he can get paid if he gets to free agency. The Redskins continue to kick the can down the road while paying their QB a premium on one-year deals.
Without a deal by Monday, the situation comes to a head in 2018, when a starting quarterback could finally force his way to free agency in his prime.