The Redskins have placed the exclusive franchise tender on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The exclusive tender prevents Cousins from negotiating with other teams and in return will pay Cousins about $23.94 million for the season. Once Cousins signs the tender, which should come quickly, his salary will be guaranteed for the season.
The Redskins need to work on a long term contract for Cousins or trade him for this tag to make any sense to use. Next year the tag would cost the team close to $35 million, bringing Cousins three year earnings close to $80 million. If they were to let him walk they would receive, at best, a 3rd round compensatory pick in 2019.
The franchise tag is a good mechanism for teams to use to improve their leverage in negotiating long term contracts, but as a year to year way to control the rights to a player, especially at a position such as QB, it really doesn’t work out that well. Once the player has proven that he should earn a long term contract the team should either move forward on negotiating the contract or moving on similar to what the Bears are doing with Alshon Jeffery. In the long run these decisions usually cost the teams more by waiting.
The Redskins next decisions with their roster will likely surround which of their veteran wide receivers to re-sign. This franchise tender will leave the Redskins with about $35 million in cap room.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.