Kirk Cousins is set to be a free agent at the beginning of the new league year, but ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Washington might franchise tag the veteran quarterback and trade him. Remember, franchise tags can't be placed on players until February 20, but the Smith trade can't be made official until the new league year begins March 14.
Some may not realize this, especially in a day and age where teams agree to deals verbally long before they're official and fans find out about them on social media, but the 2018 National Football League free agency period won't be underway for a little while longer.
If Washington made a decision to pull the franchise tag to get Cousins' contract off its salary cap, it would lose the right to recoup a 2019 compensatory draft pick that it would get if Cousins were able to leave right away as a free agent. The Redskins had until March 6 to decide whether to use the franchise tag on Cousins for an unprecedented third consecutive year, which would have resulted in a one-year deal worth close to $34.5 million.
Fans have already seen plenty of rumors about Kirk Cousins and his situation with the Washington Redskins. Finally, they'd forfeit a 2019 compensatory draft pick if they ultimately pulled the tag rather than letting him walk now. But if Cousins doesn't want to play there, he could tell Washington and the new team that he isn't going to sign a long-term contract, which likely would sink the trade.
Just when Cousins was excited to be wined and dined by the Browns, Jets, Broncos, and others, now he may have to deal with simply getting traded to a place he may not want to go. The Redskins, with Robert Griffin III on the roster and with uncertainty over Cousins' future, wanted to wait. "I haven't had a chance to pick where I play since 2007, when I chose to go to Michigan State". Cousins brings contract agreement back to Washington without signing an offer sheet. However, working around a franchise tag might limit Washington's leverage. He mentioned Jacksonville as an example; the Jaguars had not won more than five games since 2010 yet reached the AFC Championship Game this season. That gives the team an opportunity to draft a playmaker or two on offense to help Cousins. However, you have names like Cousins and Drew Brees that could be interesting names to follow for teams needing a big name to lead their huddle. The team can not complete the trade without him doing so.
"Anytime you hear positive things from your peers it means a great deal", Cousins told USA Today.