The Redskins haven't ruled out using the franchise tag on Cousins, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Cousins is on the way out of Washington following Tuesday's trade for Alex Smith. Once the transaction is official at the start of the new league year March 14, Cousins will have free reign to determine his future, unless of course the Redskins attempt to leverage the situation into compensation via the use of the franchise tag. The team has a deadline of March 6 to use the tag on Cousins for a third consecutive year. On this occasion, the possibility of a trade could result in a decent haul for the Redskins, instead of waiting for potential draft-pick compensation in 2019. From Cousins' vantage point, he has until July 16 to sign the tag, which would throw a wrench into Washington's offseason plans. The fact the Redskins are even contemplating this route is a gamble, to say the least, but the Cousins' saga could extend beyond what was initially expected after the Smith acquisition.
Following Washington's pending acquisition of fellow QB Alex Smith, which caught Cousins by surprise, free agency awaits the 29-year-old signal-caller March 14, ESPN's John Keim reports. Once complete, the deal that will send Smith to Washington will effectively end Cousins' six-year stint with the franchise. Still in his prime and coming off a 2017 season in which he threw for 4,093 passing yards while logging a 27:13 TD:INT ratio, Cousins is poised to secure a lucrative long-term deal in free agency. While teams such as the Broncos, Browns, Jets, Vikings, Jaguars, Cardinals and Bills could elect to pursue the 2012 fourth-rounder, it's worth noting that Cousins' stated goal is sign with a winning franchise, the Denver Post reports.
With Alex Smith being traded to the Redskins, Cousins is expected to enter free agency, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Cousins has been franchised tagged by the Redskins the past two seasons but the quarterback will now have the opportunity to sign a lucrative long-term deal elsewhere. Cousins instantly becomes one of the top commodities in the open market after recording three straight seasons with over 4,000 passing yards and 25 touchdowns.
Cousins completed 20 of 37 pass attempts for 158 yards and three interceptions during Sunday's 18-10 loss to the Giants. He also scored a 12-yard touchdown on his lone carry of the game. Cousins just 54 percent of his passes and threw three interceptions for the first time this season, including one in his own end on the first possession that led to a Giants touchdown. He was enjoying a tremendous campaign as recently as Wee 12 but finished with just two games over 200 passing yards and an 8:8 touchdown-turnover ratio over his final five contests. While he enjoyed a career year in 2016, Cousins regressed dramatically in terms of yardage this season and slightly so in terms of turnovers. He'll now become a free agent once again, and it remains to be seen if Washington wishes to sign him to a big contract, apply the franchise tag once again or explore other options under center.
Cousins completed 19 of 37 pass attempts for 299 yards, three touchdowns and one interception Sunday against the Broncos. He also carried five times for eight yards in the 27-11 win. Cousins completed just over half of his passes on the day, but a big second half helped him to his highest yardage total since Week 11. With the score still close, he completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson before putting the game away with a 31-yard strike to Vernon Davis. Cousins had struggled a bit over his previous four games, averaging just 210 yards passing with seven touchdowns compared to five turnovers. He produced one of his finest performances of the season in this one, however, and will look to finish strong against a hapless Giants team next week.
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