Kirk Cousins Designated Exclusive Franchise Player

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.

  • Jim

    I don’t really understand using the “Exclusive” tag in some of these cases. Manning, Brady Brees, sure. Kirk Cousins? You’re telling me, Washington would not accept two first round draft picks (and additional $25m of cap space) in exchange for Kirk Cousins?

    • Mike

      Two draft picks and some cap space are pretty useless when Colt McCoy is guiding you to 4-12

      • McGeorge

        And how will they do with Cousins, at 27MM/yer for 5 years?
        8-8? 9-7?

        • Mike

          They’ve gone back to back winning records with one of the worst defenses in football, so yes of course you resign Cousins. By any major metric he has been a top 10 QB.

          • Lewis Anderson

            when the qb is throwing ints alot wears defense down so they wont do as well.

          • Mike

            Go check his INT stats compared to the rest of the league.

          • McGeorge

            And by doing so they lose out on two #1 picks?
            That doesn’t seem worth it.

            Also, I don;t consider 8-7-1 a “winning” record that a team would be worried about jeopardizing.
            If they were winning the division 2 years in a row at 10-6 then yes, but they aren’t.

          • Mike

            Statistically, you’re just as likely to draft as bust as you are a an all-pro in the first round. Even IF you managed to hit on BOTH (incredibly unlikely)… you’re still without a QB. You’d need a defense as good as the Texans just to get to 8/9 wins, which is coincidentally the number of wins Kirk can get to with a terrible defense.

            You need a QB in this league. Full stop, period. Without one you’re wandering the losing record wasteland for the foreseeable future. Kirk is a top 10 QB by all major metrics. You don’t let him go.

          • McGeorge

            Cousins has all the leverage. He doesn’t have to sign a long term contract, just play out this year. Then what?

            What if he wants to go to SF and wants to leave the Redskins? What can the Redskins do?

            1) Offer him the max, like 27MM/year for 5 years, which is what you seem to be implying.

            2) Let him play out 2017 and leave and they get a compensatory 3rd round pick.

            3) (Too late now) Use the Non-exclusive tag, and hopefully get two #1s for him. Or maybe trade him now to the 49ers and get two #1s.

            If they lose him for less than 2 #1 picks, even if they keep him for this year, they really screwed up.

            I’m curious to see how this all plays out. I think they should overpay to keep him because the alternative is probably 4-12 for several years. But if they lose him after next year, and get a #3 thats really really bad.

          • Mike

            The 3rd option is to trade him. If the choice is between letting him go for nothing and trading, then of course trading is the more preferable option.

            However, the best case scenario is signing a long term deal. I agree, Cousins has all the leverage, but a deal could be done for less than $27m per. With enough guaranteed money and an average around the Luck deal, Cousins would likely sign.

          • McGeorge

            Trading him is an option, but I thought you were dead set against that.
            I asked why not use the Non-Exclusive tag and get two #1s if anyone wants him, and you didn’t like that.

            Would a team give up more than 2 #1s? That’s also an interesting possibility.
            The problem is you are giving up a lot of draft capital and also paying a lot. I don’t know that I’d give up two #1s and a #2 and pay 27MM.

            Or maybe Cousins will accept 25MM, with 3 guaranteed years (75MM guaranteed).

          • eddiea

            Both you and @ Mike are speaking the truth,but are missing one thing. Cousins doesn’t want to be a Skin, he wants to be a Niner/where ever Shanny is. They know it as does the rest of NFL Teams. So 2 1st Rndrs is out of the question. Now it comes down to whatever the Niners offer,most likely s 1st and 3rd, or a ’19 3rd Rnd Comp pick. That’s why the Non-exclusive Tag should’ve been used,since this was/is a game of Chicken the Skins had no chance of winning

          • McGeorge

            If the Redskins think Cousins doesn’t wnat to be a Skin, and they can get a 1st and a 3d or a comp pick, then by all means trade him.

            I still don’t see what the Skins did wrong, other than try and negotiate halfway through 2016 once they saw him having another good year.

    • Alan Mazz

      That’s contingent on a team being willing to trade 2 first round draft picks for a high salaried quarterback. Apparently teams can work around the two first round picks mandate with lesser compensation given.

    • McGeorge

      I was thinking the same thing. Makes more sense to use the Non-Exclusive tag. Better to get two #1s than to have him walk next year and get a #3.
      Its not like they are going to win the SB this year with him.