The Redskins had until March 6 to decide whether to use the franchise tag on Cousins for an unprecedented third consecutive year, which would have resulted in a one-year deal worth close to $34.5 million. Teams can start handing out franchise tags on February 20. Much like the transition tag, the Washington Redskins would have seven days to match a signed offer sheet.
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If Cousins is tagged, his $34.5 million salary would count toward the Redskins' salary cap. The Bills, Browns, and Cardinals are also considered teams that will likely have interest in him.
Kirk Cousins might not be cleared to check out of Washington just yet. They would have to give up a draft pick or two and pay Cousins' expected large contract. "I expect to be a free agent come March 14". Cousins could also undo pending trades by telling suitors he will not sign a long-term extension, lessening the desire of any interested team to part with draft picks or other players via trade.
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Between the time Washington tags Cousins and he signs the tag's tender (whenever he chooses to do that), Washington would have to keep that massive salary cap figure on its books, which would limit what Washington could do in free agency.
Regarding the latter, there may be no free agent talked about more and pondered over than Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.
"It was a surprise", Cousins said this week of Tuesday's trade.
Kirk Cousins could make life hard for the Redskins if they tagged him.
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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.
Cousins said he did not speak to the Redskins until the morning after the trade.
"They couldn't afford to wait, and so they had to make a move", Cousins told ESPN. He tweeted the tag was "negotiated into CBA for teams to have "intent" to sign players long term".
The most Washington could receive is a third-round compensatory pick for th 2019 draft.
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