In what could be a key development for teams in need of quarterbacks this season, the Washington Redskins are considering using their franchise tag on Kirk Cousins despite having acquired Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday.
If Washington tags Cousins, he would be unable to be a true unrestricted free agent able to sign wherever he wants when the league year begins March 14. By using the tag, the Redskins could have a say in where Cousins lands in a trade and get compensation for him in the draft.
Cousins, however, could delay signing the tag – meaning the Redskins would have to keep his $34.5 million salary on its salary cap – or he could tell potential suitors that he would not sign a long-term deal with an interested team. That would significantly reduce what the Redskins could get for him from that team.
The Redskins agreed to acquire Smith in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick and defensive back Kendall Fuller, according to multiple reports. Smith agreed to a four-year extension worth $94 million. The deal does not become official until March 14.
“In this league and my story, I’ve learned that curveballs come all the time,” Cousins told SiriusXM NFL Radio at the Super Bowl this week. “I expect to be a free agent come March 14. We’ll see if that plays out, and if it does, it’s a unique opportunity that I look forward to. I haven’t had a chance to pick where I wanted to play since 2007 when I chose to go to Michigan State.”
Teams can begin designating players for the franchise tag Feb. 20.