LANDOVER — Kirk Cousins has not yet thought about his future with the Redskins. For now, that is a team decision.

The Redskins used the franchise tag on Cousins last spring. They can do so again this winter. Whether they want to do so is uncertain. But if they don’t, Cousins will only then begin to contemplate his future.

“It’s really not my decision to make,” Cousins said. “The ball was in the court of the team last year and they chose to tag me. If they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is valid at that point. But the ball is not in my court.”

Not yet. But by March 1 the Redskins will have to decide if they want to use the franchise tag on Cousins again at around $23.94 million. They could always agree to a long-term deal before then. Or they could decide to let him become a free agent. It’s the exact same process they went through last offseason with Cousins and his agent Mike McCartney.

This time Washington has 16 more starts to evaluate Cousins. He set the franchise record for completions (406), passing yards (4,917) and its third-highest completion percentage (67 percent) in 2016. Only 14 quarterbacks have ever thrown for more passing yards than Cousins in a single year. He was also named a Pro Bowl alternate and could play in the game later this month. All of that will come into play in the contract negotiations to come.

“I don’t know what Kirk has to do as a quarterback to prove that he belongs in the National Football League as a starter,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “He had a great year. There were some tough decisions made today…Overall, I think the amount of times he dropped back to pass and made some unbelievable throws in some great games. He belongs in the NFL as a starting quarterback, that’s for sure. Hopefully it’s here.”

Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.


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