CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that if the Redskins can't reach a long-term deal with Cousins after the season, then the team plans to hit him with the franchise tag for a second consecutive year.
Although being given the one-year franchise tag isn't ideal for any player, Cousins probably wouldn't mind all that much because a second franchise tag comes with a big raise. If the Redskins quarterback gets tagged again, he'll get a 120 percent raise on his contract, which means he'd make roughly $23.94 million for the 2017 season.
Cousins will only get that number if he gets tagged. It's also possible that the two sides will work out a long-term deal. As La Canfora pointed out, if the Redskins do tag Cousins again, that basically means they gave him a two-year, $44 million deal for 2016 and 2017, which means that would likely be the baseline for where negotiations would begin on a new deal.
Basically, there's a good chance that Cousins will be making Andrew Luck-type money by the time the 2017 season begins.
La Canfora also reports that Cousins is going to command at least $23 million a season and quite possibly more like $25 million. The reason the Redskins will have to tag him is because several quarterback-needy teams have told La Canfora that they'll go after Cousins if he's available.
La Canfora adds that executives from five different organizations agreed there was no way the Redskins could afford to let Cousins hit the open market. "They don't have a choice, and they know it," one executive said. "Everyone knows it."
Cousins is having another career year and with this being a poor quarterback draft, and a very week free agent quarterback class, Cousins is regarded as the best potential option available.
The likelihood that Cousins would sign a long-term deal prior to being franchised is remote -- at that point, unless receiving an overwhelming offer, it makes the most sense to negotiate off the tag. That allows the team until mid-July to sign him to a long-term deal.
Cousins clearly knows he's going to get paid. After the Redskins 42-24 win over the Packers on Sunday, a game where Cousins threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns, the Redskins quarterback went up to GM Scot McCloughan and screamed at him before rubbing his head.
When you watch the clip, it feels a lot like Cousins is saying to McCloughan, "Tell Dan Snyder to get out the checkbook."
Cousins likely won't be in the mood to give the Redskins any sort of discount, especially after how they treated him last offseason. After hitting him with the franchise tag, the team basically said, this is a prove-it deal and we're not going to pay you the money you think you deserve.
Well, Cousins has definitely proved it, and now, the Redskins are going to have to pay him handsomely to keep him.