I’m Here to Kill Chris Russell’s Transition Tag Argument Once And For All

WASHINGTON — It’s been roughly 10 months since the Redskins made the decision to franchise tag Kirk Cousins.

That might be enough time for someone who disagreed with the decision to get over it. And yet, here’s Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan, the better part of a year later, still hanging on to his ‘they should have transition tagged him’ argument for dear life.

In his sporadic rants, you’ll hear him criticize the Redskins over two central points:

  • The Redskins could have signed Cousins to a lower long-term salary last offseason
  • If not, they should have transition tagged him

For those who don’t understand the transition tag, it’s a cheaper alternative to the franchise tag that, while similar in nature, has largely become irrelevant due to its ineffectiveness. Allow Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio to explain:

To use the transition tag, a significant investment on a one-year guaranteed deal is required, and if the player signs an offer sheet elsewhere that isn’t matched, there’s no compensation. By kicking in a little more on a one-year deal, the current team gets two first-round picks if the player leaves — which means for most players that he won’t be leaving.

In other words, it’s a cheaper investment than the franchise tag, and yet, still fully guaranteed for the player. It also allows the player the ability to negotiate with other organizations and, if he leaves, his former team gets zero compensation in return.

This is what Chris Russell has been arguing for since January.

You’ll hear him degrade fans for their lack of knowledge on the topic, lobbing insults at the fan collective, calling them “idiots,” as if they all subscribe to one singular belief. He’ll then prop this fictitious enemy he’s formed in his own mind up as a straw man to push back against, defending his own credibility as a victim against this make believe giant trying to do him harm.

“See, I tried to tell all you guys this all last year,” Russell said Wednesday. “Nobody wanted to listen to me. Everybody thought I was a lunatic. Everybody thought I was a lunatic and people still think I’m a lunatic. I was the only one that was right! [The Redskins] are screwed!”

And in doing all this, Russell will also undermine his own argument:

“Now, yes, they’re going to have like $58 million under the cap. Congratu-frickin-lations! You would have had a lot more if you would have handled this reasonably. You know what you also would have had? Stability. You know what you also would have had? A quarterback for wellllllll below market value. Now you’re done! Screwed!”

“The Redskins now have money,” he also freely conceded. “So they can absorb a $24-, or $25-  or $26 million salary cap hit, even with Josh Norman’s cap hit going from $8- to $20 [million]. They can absorb that and they can probably also absorb a…let’s call it five-year average annual value of $24 million with a year-three cash intake of $80-to-$85 million, and full guarantees in the neighborhood of…let’s call it $60-to-$65 million…they can probably do that.”

Now, back to the insults.

“You people don’t know what I know,” he’d later say. “Here’s the difference: You people think you know sh… stuff; you don’t know JACK! Nothing! I do. That’s the difference. And I’m sorry if that bites into your core, and I’m sorry if that makes me sound like a pompous, arrogant jerk, it’s the truth.”

“When I realized clearly that they weren’t dealing fairly with him,” he said at one point, “I said, look, you have two options at this point. One, to franchise tag him and cost yourself big time down the road, or you could transition tag him, find out and assess his true market value, slapping a lower tender which then set the market for him and others, giving you a period of five days to match. And I thought, my opinion based on all of the analysis and based on everything that makes sense, I thought that was the best option if they would not deal fairly with him on a long-term deal.”

Here’s how you bust up the transition tag defense: Say a quarterback starved team — let’s call it the Browns — offered Cousins a ludicrous amount of money. Let’s call it an average annual value of $30 million. Cousins accepts the deal, the Redskins clearly don’t match and realize they just lost their franchise quarterback for literally nothing — no first-round picks, nothing. That’s what the transition tag is designed to do.

“You people don’t know what I know.”

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter.

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