By Chris Lingebach

Redskins Senior VP of Player Personnel Doug Williams quelled reports that the team might try to franchise tag Kirk Cousins again, as a precursor to an eventual trade, telling reporters at the NFL Combine Wednesday Cousins is “a free agent.”

“He’s a free agent, for sure,” Williams said from Indianapolis. “Actually, I saw [Senior VP of Football Ops/General Counsel, Eric] Schaffer and his agent talking today down in the lobby. But a lot of it depends on which way they want to go. I think everybody has pretty much heard what might go down, and what could go down and what have you, but I don’t know how much more talking that they can do at this point.”

Williams was responding to speculation stemming from an Adam Schefter report in early February. Schefter reported that, despite trading for another starting quarterback in Alex Smith, the Redskins were considering still “placing their franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins so they can trade him and recoup some of the compensation they are sending to Kansas City.”

Cousins’ camp has reportedly threatened to file a grievance if the Redskins do pursue the franchise tag option. March 6 at 4 p.m. is the deadline for NFL teams to designate franchise or transition tag players. If Cousins has not been tagged by March 14, the official start of the new league year, he becomes a free agent.

Asked if this means another franchise tag is not in play, Williams said, “I don’t think so, but you know what, it’s not too late. But we haven’t really talked about that. I think the media has come up with those scenarios more than what we have talked about it, because I can’t remember one meeting where we talked about the possibility of tagging him.”

Williams was also asked why the Redskins decided to move on from Cousins.

“You’ve got to look at it from the standpoint, Kirk has been there for — what? — six years, and I’m sure there have been opportunities that deals could have been worked out. It hasn’t been worked out. As a team, you’ve got to always put yourself in position in case what might not happen. We can’t afford to let it come to the twelfth hour and Kirk decides not to come back or what have you and leave us with the bag. We’ve got to make decisions that are best for the organization, and whatever decisions we make or made or what have you, that’s what we’ve got to live with.”

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter

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