Report: Redskins, Kirk Cousins break off contract talks, tag likely?

The Redskins are committed to Kirk Cousins. Partly because he played well as the starter in 2015 but also because there is no Plan B; Robert Griffin III, drafted second overall -- and 100 spots before Cousins -- in 2012, will be released in the coming days. And there's no one on the roster who will challenge Cousins for playing time.

With Cousins set to become a free agent next month, it's no surprise that the two sides are working on a long-term deal. Or at least they were: contract talks have broken down, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

But CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora suggests that this is largely posturing. Cousins' representatives and the Redskins are expected to resume talks at next week's NFL combine. And worst case, the team has two weeks to decide whether to franchise him -- and that's always been a consideration.

La Canfora adds: "In the words of Aaron Rodgers -- R.E.L.A.X."

Put another way: There's no chance Cousins hits free agency. The projected 2016 franchise tag number for quarterbacks is $19.8 million, and Washington won't hesitate to use it. Not because Cousins has proved he's worth that type of payout after just one season, but mostly because the Redskins are quite familiar with trying to win in the NFL without a legitimate quarterback. It's damn near impossible.

How much will Kirk Cousins make in 2016? (USATSI)
How much will Kirk Cousins make in 2016? (USATSI)

In the meantime, Redskins fans are understandably nervous. Or to paraphrase Cousins, they DON'T LIKE THAT:

In late December as the Redskins were on their way to winning the division, CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco wrote about why Cousins was suddenly playing at such a high level:

Where he's really improving is with his decision making. Offensive coordinator Sean McVay and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh have done a great job of helping him with his pre-snap looks. It helps that Cousins is a work junkie, a film-room buff who color-codes his entire week in 15-minute increments on a paper to help plan it.

Still, Prisco thinks caution is on order when talking about Cousins' next deal.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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