Kirk Cousins signs franchise tag, can no longer negotiate with other teams
Cousins will now be paid $19.953 million by Washington for the 2016 season unless he comes to an agreement on a long-term deal.
A few hours before Tuesday's franchise tag deadline, Washington elected to use its tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins was hit with the non-exclusive version of the tag, which would have allowed him to negotiate with other teams in addition to Washington. If he'd agreed to a deal with another team, Washington would have had five days to decide whether or not to match and, if they decided against it, would have received two first-round picks as compensation.
But that's all moot now, because Cousins decided to sign his franchise tag late Wednesday night.
Kirk Cousins signed his franchise tonight, as expected. Should be reflected in the NFL's official waiver wire on Thursday— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 3, 2016
Cousins signing the tag means he can no longer negotiate with teams other than Washington. He does, however, have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term deal with the hometown team. Washington has reportedly offered Cousins a long-term deal with an average annual value around $16 million, per NFL Network's Albert Breer, who noted that Cousins' reps are looking for something with an AAV closer to his tag number. If they're unable to come to an agreement, Cousins would then play out the season on a one-year, $19,953,000 pact.
A $16 million average would make Cousins the 20th-highest paid QB in the league, tied with Andy Dalton of the Bengals. The only veteran starter signed to a deal longer than one year and not still on his rookie-scale contract that makes less on an average annual basis is Nick Foles, whose contract averages $12.27 million per year, according to Spotrac. Meanwhile, the tag value placed on Cousins carries with it the 10th highest average annual value among QBs in the league, just ahead of Ryan Tannehill and just ahead of Drew Brees.
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