For the second consecutive offseason, the Redskins are expected to use their franchise tag on Cousins, per Adam Schefter of ESPN, which would be accompanied by a cap commitment of $23.94 million for the 2017 campaign. Holding leverage over the organization due to a lack of QB talent on their roster, no equivalent options on the upcoming free-agent market, and an underwhelming draft class, Cousins has significant leverage in contract negotiations once the tender is signed. The parties will still have until July 15 to reach an agreement on a long-term deal, with Cousins' representation potentially being able to gauge his value against Tony Romo and Jay Cutler, among other signal-callers, if and when they're in new uniforms.
Team president Bruce Allen said Tuesday that the Redskins will do everything in their power to keep Cousins, an unrestricted free agent, in Washington next season and beyond, Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post reports. "Kirk's our quarterback," Allen reiterated. "He played well the last two years, and I know there's other speculation, but it doesn't come from the Redskins."
After he broke out in 2015, there was similar talk last offseason from Washington's brass about Cousins being "our long-term quarterback," but ultimately the franchise tag was required to ensure he stuck with the only organization he's ever known. While the franchise tag is again an option, the price will be ever steeper, meaning the bottom line will likely guide the Redskins' thinking this time around. As one of three quarterbacks to surpass the 4,900-yard threshold in 2016, Cousins' potential salary can be expected to carve out a large portion of the team's available cap.
Cousins completed 22 of 35 passes for 287 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions in Sunday's 19-10 loss to the Giants.
Cousins threw two critical interceptions to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the loss. The first came late in the third quarter, as the Maurice Harris slipped on a route, resulting in the turnover inside the Giants' ten yard line. Then, with the game and Washington's playoff hopes on the line late in the fourth quarter, Cousins threw his second interception on the Giants' 25-yard line, ending the potential game winning drive. His lone touchdown pass was a one-yard strike to Jordan Reed. His season ends with 4917 yards, 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. However, it was a rather disappointing finish to Cousins' campaign, as he has thrown five touchdowns and five interceptions since Week 13, never breaking 315 passing yards in a game during the process. Those numbers do not bode well for the fact that the second-year starter is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, leaving his future with the franchise in question for the time being.
Cousins emerged as a dual-threat quarterback in Washington's most important game of the season thus far, keeping its playoff hopes alive for at least the moment. Just before the half, the quarterback scrambled into the end zone from nine yards out and then punched in a one-yard carry toward the end of the third to secure a
Cousins actually led the
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