Redskins Still Have Options With Kirk Cousins, Bruce Allen Insists

PHOENIX — The Redskins remain in contact with quarterback Kirk Cousins and his agent about a long-term contract extension, but no signing is imminent, according to team president Bruce Allen.

Cousins is under contract for 2017 on the franchise tag worth $23.9 million. He can be tagged one more time, but at an exorbitant price ($34.4 million). Allen also referenced “an option” the team holds for 2018.

“We have (Cousins) under contract this year. We have an option for the 2018 season,” Allen said. “We’re comfortable where we’re at. We’re going to worry about this year and the next game. But our goal is to sign him to a multi-year contract.”

Allen then referenced a saying made famous by his father, George Allen, a Redskins’ coaching legend: “Someone once said ‘The future is now.'”

That means Washington is content to have Cousins on the roster this fall whether or not he signs a long-term extension by that July 15 deadline. The risk is obvious. Unless they use the franchise tag or the transition tag ($28.7 million) on Cousins next year, he will be a free agent and able to go wherever he pleases.

His former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, is in San Francisco and doesn’t have a long-term option at that position even after signing Brian Hoyer, Cousins’ teammate at Michigan State, this month. There would be plenty of other suitors should Cousins hit the open market. Another former offensive coordinator, Sean McVay, is now the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He has a young quarterback in second-year pro Jared Goff, but who knows what kind of season Goff has in 2017?

Allen is correct that the Redskins could use either tag. But is paying $34.4 million to one player smart business? The NFL salary cap will likely rise next season as it almost always does. If it lands around the $175 million mark, Washington would be paying almost 20 percent of its salary to one player.

The transition tag is only slightly less risky. Cousins would make about 16 percent of the total salary cap. Maybe that’s more palatable. But under the transition tag he’d also be allowed to negotiate and sign an offer sheet with another team and the Redskins would get no compensation if they chose not to match it.

Even if they do embrace those risks and take back some of the leverage in these negotiations, Cousins will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019 without a new contract. His departure will always loom over the organization as long as he plays on one-year deals. But Allen insist his team won’t trade Cousins before the upcoming draft.

“Nothing’s really changed,” Allen said. “I’ve had a lot of talks with Kirk and we’ve shared thoughts on – not the contract, but what his dreams are and visions and what he plans on doing. I guess July 15 is the deadline for all of these guys to sign and we’ll see. Our goals and our objectives have not changed.”

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