The 49ers head into the 2017 season in the midst of a rebuild and with a new head coach and general manager, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, respectively. The Washington Redskins have failed to sign their starting quarterback to a long-term deal. Cousins is slated to become the first franchise-tagged player ever to hit the free-agent market.
Perhaps Kirk Cousins plays well enough to change the mind of the Redskins front office. Washington and their quarterback were unable to come to a long-term agreement before the July 17 deadline. Rather, it made him the quarterbacking equivalent of a Major League Baseball player or, more simply, another way of saying they have a contract with you but you don't have a contract with them. To listen to his comments on Cousins' future, skip to the 1:30 mark. "Tough as s--. Got a chance".
Would whoever hurt Kirk Cousins' feelings please apologize?
More importantly, he called him "Kurt" repeatedly. As mentioned, the fully guaranteed tags would make him the highest-paid player in the league.
My answer: The 49ers have given Shanahan the keys to the franchise, he's a QB expert, and they desperately need an answer at QB for tomorrow, the next year, and many years after that.
Cousins is expected to play the upcoming season under the Redskins' franchise tag, Nick Shook of NFL.com reports. He will make $23.94 million on the franchise tag in 2017 after earning $19.95 million previous year. After being drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, Cousins sat behind fellow 2012 draftee Robert Griffin III before becoming the full time starter in 2015.
The team could give Cousins the franchise tag once again, but this time it would come with a 44 percent raise over his salary this year, meaning he would earn $34.56 million next year. It is unlikely that Washington would want to spend that kind of money in 2018. The franchise tag prevented him from doing that. According to the NFLPA, the 49ers now have almost $67 million in cap space.
So essentially, the Redskins will enter the 2018 season with two unappealing options, and of course, the one that both the team and Cousins would likely much prefer to see happen, which is a long-term contract.
The transition tag would allow Washington to match any offer Cousins received from another team. The number "Kurt" apparently turned down is the same thing as the offer. Cousins threw for over 9,000 yards with 54 touchdowns versus 23 interceptions.
For at least this season, Cousins remains with the Redskins.