When the Redskins made a deal for Alex Smith last week, that effectively put an end to the Kirk Cousins era in Washington. Cousins, the team's 2012 fourth-round pick who was franchised each of the last two offseasons, would hit free agency in a few weeks and finally be free to sell his wares to the highest bidder.

Except the Redskins, who clearly are ready to move on from Cousins as evidenced by a) their refusal to give him a long-term deal commensurate with his talents, and b) the decision to trade for Smith, may not be interested in a clean break.

ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed as much on Sunday morning, reporting that the Redskins will consider franchising Cousins for a third time in an effort to then trade him. The thinking: Instead of letting Cousins walk for nothing more than a compensatory pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Washington can get much more than that for what many team's consider a legit franchise quarterback.

Tagging Cousins also gives the Redskins some say on where he plays next season, particularly since there are several NFC teams -- with the Cardinals near the top of the list -- looking for stability at the quarterback position.

But that plan isn't without its problems, as Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith points out:

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reiterates Cousins' options and adds some context as to why the Redskins would even consider it:

Of course, team president Bruce Allen is also the same man that called Kirk Cousins "Kurt" Cousins last summer while explaining the team's lowball contract offer.

Cousins spoke publicly about the trade for the first time Friday, telling USA Today's Mike Jones that, like everyone else, he was shocked by the move.

"It was a surprise," he admitted. "I was actually working out at my hotel room here in Minneapolis and when I finished the workout went over to my phone and saw the news. Every player looks forward to free agency. It looks like I'm going to be a free agent on March 14. I guess there are still some dates to check off, but it should be an exciting process."

One of those dates is February 20, which is when teams can start using the franchise tag.