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- Kirk Cousins’ future with the Redskins is still in doubt as the team enters the final stretch of the 2017 season.
- Cousins has been the Redskins’ most consistent player on offense, but he still hasn’t signed a long-term contract with the team.
- The Redskins will likely either let Cousins walk in free agency, or use the franchise tag on him for an unprecedented third consecutive year, a move that would cost the team over $34 million.
The Washington Redskins still don’t know who their starting quarterback will be in 2018, despite having one of the most reliable players in football under center.
Cousins has been the Redskins’ starting quarterback for the past three seasons – the most consistency that Washington has had at the position since Joe Thiesman in the 1980’s – and yet, the team still doesn’t know what they’re going to do with Cousins beyond 2017.
Cousins’ ongoing contract drama was a big story throughout the NFL offseason, with barbs traded from both the Redskins and Cousins’ representation. In the end, the two sides could not reach a deal, and the Redskins made the decision to place the franchise tag on Cousins for the second consecutive year. It was the first time in NFL history that had been done, and Cousins is making $23.9 million this year as a result.
Now the Redskins must decide once again between a lucrative long-term contract, an expensive franchise tag, or letting Cousins go as a free agent.
Despite having started 52 games in his six years with the Redskins, much of the decision will come down to Cousins’ play over the final few games, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Cousins was a guest on 106.7 The Fan and seemed a bit off put by the news.
“If you still need five more games, or five-plus, to make a decision, so be it, but I’d like to think that I’ve played a lot of football here,” Cousins said.
Rapoport also reported that sources told him a long-term deal with the Redskins is still not on the table. If the Redskins give Cousins the franchise tag for the third straight year, it would cost $34.5 million for a season’s worth of work and make Cousins the highest-paid quarterback in the league.
Should the Redskins let Cousins walk, he’ll have no shortage of suitors, with plenty of teams in the market for a franchise quarterback, either looking to take full advantage of an already established group of talented players (e.g. the Jacksonville Jaguars) or hoping to rebuild their team around a new starter (e.g. the New York Giants, the New York Jets, or the Cleveland Browns).
Regardless of how it shakes out, it appears as though Cousins’ contract negotiations will once again be one of the prominent stories of the NFL offseason, and how he plays over these final weeks of the season could be worth untold amounts in his next contract.