Kirk Cousins To Play 2016 Under Franchise Tag

The July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign new contracts is fast approaching, but the Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins have not made progress toward an agreement, reports Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who adds that circumstances will not change over the next week. That means the Redskins and Cousins won’t be free to negotiate a long-term deal again until the end of the season. In the meantime, Cousins will play 2016 under the $19.95MM franchise tender he signed in March.

Kirk Cousins

Given the lofty price of the tag this season – which will increase to $23.94MM if Washington uses it again on Cousins in 2017 – the 27-year-old doesn’t have much incentive to ink an extension. If the two sides were to strike a deal, it would take the Redskins the combined price of the tags, $43.89MM in guarantees, over the first two seasons of the pact, per Florio.

Tagging Cousins again in 2018 would cost the Redskins an unpalatable $34.47MM. That’s a long way off, though, and the franchise first wants Cousins to prove his red-hot finish to the 2015 campaign wasn’t a fluke. The four-year veteran closed the regular season on a tear, completing 74 percent of his passes for nearly 1,200 yards, 12 touchdowns and a 134.0 quarterback rating over the final four weeks. That astounding stretch helped the Redskins to a 9-7 overall mark and an NFC East title.

In total, Cousins ended his first full season as a starter with a 69.8 completion percentage, 29 scores, 11 interceptions, 4,166 yards and a 101.6 passer rating. Before usurping the No. 1 job from former second overall pick Robert Griffin III last summer, Cousins appeared in 14 games and made nine starts from 2012-14. Notably, Griffin and Cousins were part of the same Redskins draft class in 2012, though the team invested only a fourth-rounder in the latter signal-caller.

At $660K, Cousins earned a paltry sum for a starting quarterback last season. But thanks to his down-the-stretch brilliance, the ex-Michigan State Spartan will pace all QBs in base salary this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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