Redskins could franchise tag Kirk Cousins to trade him

Esther Moore
February 6, 2018

The window to designate franchise players opens on February 20. Schefter's report is hardly definitive, but that it's even out there that Cousins could be franchise tagged by the Redskins again means there may be something to it. Who won't acquire him and what it does to how teams draft will be a fascinating story during an interesting offseason for many teams around the NFL. To acquire Smith from Kansas City, Washington had to give up cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick, so they're hoping to at least get some assets back in exchange for Cousins.

But compensatory picks are determined by the National Football League management council and there is no guarantee that Cousins signing with a different team would net a third-rounder, especially if the Redskins sign other free agents.

There is one reason Cousins might not accept the tag and that is if there's no sign he could get a long-term deal from the team where he's potentially traded. A talented roster with three possibly zero quarterbacks entering 2018 seems like a great fit for Cousins. However, Cousins has indicated that money won't be the factor that helps him to make up his mind.

But if things got hard with Cousins, could Washington rescind the franchise tag and just let him hit free agency? Cousins could delay signing the franchise tag for months, preventing the Redskins from making a deal before the draft, and for awhile after.

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As former Eagles president and National Football League front office executive Joe Banner noted on Twitter, the only way a Cousins tag-and-trade happens is if Washington definitely knows it has a deal in place before placing the tag on Cousins.

Regarding the latter, there may be no free agent talked about more and pondered over than Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. Meanwhile, the Redskins and other team work out a trade agreement.

"They couldn't afford to wait, and so they had to make a move", Cousins told ESPN. He then signs the transition tag tender and the two teams complete the trade. The thinking: Instead of letting Cousins walk for nothing more than a compensatory pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Washington can get much more than that for what many team's consider a legit franchise quarterback.

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