With the Washington Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins failing to agree to a long-term deal by the Monday, July 17 4 p.m. ET deadline, the likelihood of Cousins moving to San Francisco in free agency next spring has greatly increased.
For the second consecutive season, Kirk Cousins will be playing under the franchise tag — the first quarterback to do so.
The news comes after Redskins team president Bruce Allen released a statement, in which Allen detailed the team’s contract proposal to Cousins on May 2 and the subsequent response from the quarterback’s camp:
As you can see, Allen said the Redskins offered Cousins an enormous amount of guaranteed money and to chance to be the second-highest paid player in the league, behind only Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Ultimately, the signal-caller opted to not accept that deal and instead bet on himself in free agency in 2018.
The 2017 franchise tag means Cousins is now set to earn $23.9 million this year, making him the fifth highest paid player in the league. And he’ll then be free to test the open market following the season — that is unless Washington decides to franchise tag Cousins for an unprecedented third consecutive time.
There’s two tags available to be used, the transition tag and franchise tag. The transition tag price would be lower, but would also allow for other teams to make offers to Cousins (Washington would be allowed to match any offer). The franchise tag is the likely more option of the two. A move like that would be of massive cost to the team, yet it is something that has been considered by the Redskins. How much would it cost?
A staggering $34.4 million for the 2018 season. Cousins would be by far the highest paid player in the league, by nearly a $10 million gap.
The cap hit for a single season is just too much for a team to take on — and would it really be worth it if he just winds up leaving that next following season? Cousins has already turned a deal that featured the most guaranteed money for a quarterback in NFL history. We know that money is important to Cousins; it’s something he has mentioned before.
And you know who has a healthy amount of money? The San Francisco 49ers, who are also in search of a franchise quarterback. The team currently owns the most cap space, with $63.1 million, and part of that will rollover into next season.
Cousins will likely command one of the richest contracts in NFL history in the 2018 offseason. What would a potential contract look like? Factoring in Carr’s recent 5-year, $125 million deal, here’s an estimation:
- 5 years, $123.5 million — $24.7 million/year (would be second-highest in league)
But with ample cap space, the 49ers will be able to accommodate the financial requests made. And the hypothetical contract would not leave the team strapped of money, further increasing the odds of the team making a serious run at the free agent to be.
There is a gaping hole at quarterback looking at the future for the 49ers. There is an established connection between player and coach. There is a prime financial situation. It has all the elements of a perfect storm, one that lands Cousins in the Bay Area.
The storyline of Cousins’ impending free agency is bound to make headlines throughout this upcoming season. It’s sure to be an eventful ride, as free agency tends to be. Will it end with Cousins in a 49ers uniform? We’ll see next spring.