WASHINGTON — The Redskins elected Tuesday to franchise tag Kirk Cousins, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to be tagged in consecutive seasons.
By using the exclusive tag, they remain in control of Cousins’ immediate future and now have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. If they don’t, Cousins is almost assuredly hitting free agency in 2018, as the price of a third franchise tag would require a 40 percent raise from the $24 million he’ll now make in 2017 — in other words: nearly $34 million.
One thing of which Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is now certain, the Redskins won’t be trading Cousins before next season.
“He is not going anywhere,” Rapoport said on NFL Network. “Really, the Redskins, what they did was answer one of the biggest questions of the 2017 offseason with one move. They decided that they’re not going to trade him to the San Francisco 49ers. They decided they’re not going to trade him anywhere. He’s going to be their quarterback for the next year and that is that.”
Rapoport also noted the freedom this gives Cousins in his career moving forward. Not only is it highly unlikely the Redskins will use a third consecutive tag on Cousins next year, but because of the 40 percent pay raise stipulation, Cousins will in all likelihood never have to worry about being tagged — by any team — ever again.
“The other part of this is, for Kirk Cousins’ future, he’s not yet 30 years old,” Rapoport said. “He’s now been tagged twice. This basically makes him tag-proof for the rest of his career, because a third tag would be at a 40 percent increase, something no team is gonna do, so really, at [28 years old], having made $44 million over last year and this year, unable to be tagged again, Kirk Cousins is doing very well in life. Let’s just say that.”