Another franchise tag for Kirk Cousins this season may prove to be the beginning of the end of his stay in Washington. The Redskins, therefore, need to sign him to a long-term deal before the tag deadline and must prepare to overpay to keep him.
The Washington Redskins face a second consecutive offseason with questions surrounding the future of its quarterback Kirk Cousins. Unlike last year, however, Cousins, on the strength of another productive season, commands nearly unchecked leverage in his bargaining position with the Redskins in 2017. Instead of ignoring this stark reality, the team would be wise to acknowledge the gravity of this conundrum, and, more importantly, that it was the party responsible for its creation.
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With the franchise tag deadline looming, a quick fix is the best – and perhaps only – fix to this self-imposed quandary. That’s because, while a happy ending may very well result from the coming negotiations between player and team, a tag could very well spell another type of ending for the team’s former fourth-round draft choice. A twice-tagged quarterback is unprecedented, and a bleak harbinger that the organization and quarterback will ever find common ground with the other. Because the Redskins can’t afford to take that chance, they should start bargaining in earnest to spare themselves the uncertainty that awaits if they tag Cousins and hope for a long-term deal to emerge.
That begins by abandoning the traditional contract dance with Cousins that the team conducts with its other free agents. But doing so would force it to come to grips with the inconvenient truth that the team will have to overpay Cousins to keep him in Washington. This means that it should be prepared, according to John Keim of ESPN, to pay him more than what the Colts paid Andrew Luck last year. And the team needs to do so in the less than two weeks before the March 1 tag deadline to preempt any uncertainty in a road that’s never been traveled.