On Tuesday afternoon, a day before the 4 p.m. franchise tag deadline, the Washington Redskins applied the exclusive franchise tag to quarterback Kirk Cousins. This move was expected as the two parties really didn’t speak in the off-season prior to the tag, making Cousins the first quarterback in NFL history to receive the franchise tag in back to back seasons. The move allows the Redskins to now sit down with Kirk’s agent to try and work out a long-term deal, the deadline for getting something done is July 15th.
Cousins stills holds a large majority of the leverage in negotiations even with the placement of the exclusive tag, which prevents him from soliciting offers from other organizations where the non-exclusive allowed him to do such. With the non-exclusive applied to Cousins, odds are he finds a team out there willing to offer him the market value worth many expect him to be asking for. Which in turn, forces Washington’s hands because if they are not willing to pay that much for the 28-year old quarterback a decision must be made whether to deal him or ante up. For obvious reasons, they would want to avoid the offers Cousins will receive if that tag was applied.
With the exclusive tag applied to Cousins the Redskins can do all the talking to Cousins and if negotiations go left, take the calls themselves to other teams to seek a trade partner. For fans, media members, and others close to the situation, a trade seems imminent with Cousins. Hindsight is a terrible method of thinking at times. That being said, it’s hard to say the Redskins screwed the negotiations up knowing they strongly considered the unknowns of the quarterback to be a factor. They asked him to prove it once more last off-season when the non-exclusive franchise tag was applied and he delivered once more, raising his annual price to one that may be out of the question for Washington.
So here we are, waiting on the Redskins to make a move, the ball is in their court as Cousins likes to say. Moving forward Washington has three options. The first being to get a long-term deal done, the second would be to trade him, or keep him under the 1-year rental and lose him next year with no compensation for it (third and final option).
The best play in my opinion for Washington would be to start off with their strongest initial offer to get Cousins attention. If the quarterback is not willing to play ball, take what you can get for him now via trade. The issue lies in leverage, if the latter becomes the option than Washington loses what little leverage they had.