Kirk Cousins signs franchise tender, set to make $24 million in 2017

Kirk Cousins might not want to play for the Redskins, but the quarterback signed his franchise tender Friday morning, according to his agent. That means Cousins will make $23.9 million in 2017, unless A) He and the Redskins can come to terms on a multiyear deal, or B) the Redskins decide to trade Cousins, even though they’ve said there are no plans to do that, and he reaches a long-term deal with the new team.

As recently as Thursday, there were reports that Cousins wanted out of Washington. And all indications are that he wants to play for the 49ers, where he would be reunited with Kyle Shanahan, who was in Washington when Cousins was drafted in 2012. In fact, Cousins asked Redskins owner Daniel Snyder for a trade but, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “was basically told not to get his hopes up.”

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora added some context, via Twitter.

“Would Cousins be open to a trade and welcome it? Yes. Is he demanding a trade? No. Would he play there $24 million in 2017 if need be? Absolutely. Will Cousins sign that franchise tag and lock in that salary? Without a doubt, and soon at that. Is San Francisco the only team that likes him? Nope.

“The 49ers indicated strongly to [just signed Brian] Hoyer he’s the guy for 2017 and [that there won’t be a] trade for Cousins this year,” La Canfora continued. “Words are cheap but they recruited him as a starter. ... Bottom line: If the ‘Skins negotiate off the franchise tag figure [$24 million] and make legit offers, everyone could quickly kiss and make up. If they don’t step up to the plate, [there] will be another wacko offseason [in Washington].”

Meanwhile, the Redskins are a hot mess; they just fired the general manager and lost their two starting receivers -- Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson -- on the first day of free agency.

Cousins and the Redskins have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term deal, and as recently as Super Bowl week Cousins tried to make the best of the situation.

“I want to be where I’m wanted, and if they tag me that tells you that you’re wanted,” Cousins told ESPN 980 at the time, via the team’s website. “They are not going to tag you or commit to you if they don’t want you. So if they tag me then that’s great and it means they want me back. Whether I sign a five-year deal or a one-year franchise tag, I’m going to feel like I’m on a one-year deal every year and have to prove myself week in and week out. If they tag me, great, it looks like I’m wanted. If they don’t then that sends a strong message too and lets go look at our options.”

The knock on Cousins is that he struggles with consistency, but he ranked third in total value among all quarterbacks last season, according to Football Outsiders’ metrics, behind only Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. There’s your bright spot.

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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