Last week, coach Jay Gruden expressed optimism that the team would still work out a long-term deal with Cousins. But it seems Cousins does not want that. ESPN reported that Cousins personally asked owner Dan Snyder for a trade, but was told not to get his hopes up.
It wasn’t clear when this request took place. But this confirms what multiple team and league sources have believed: Cousins has no desire to be here for the long term. Publicly, Cousins has talked about the importance of continuity, but also has said he wants to go somewhere that he’s truly wanted. And because of the history here, Cousins has never felt completely wanted by Snyder and team president Bruce Allen.
Gruden wants Cousins and believes he gives them the best chance to win. And Allen used the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins to try to eliminate trade rumors, he said. But the Redskins still could entertain trade offers. People familiar with the situation say Allen is determined to recoup as rich a bounty as possible for the quarterback. But that asking price has been too rich for teams seeking help at the position.
It’s still possible a trade could happen. But most likely, Washington would wait until just before the draft to do so. That’s when the Redskins would have the most leverage because a team that missed on a quarterback in free agency would be more desperate and perhaps willing to part with more draft picks.
If the draft comes and goes with out a trade, the Redskins are probably looking at a long-term deal, or just having Cousins play on the franchise tag. A long-term deal probably wouldn’t get done until closer to the July 15 franchise tag deadline, because that’s when Cousins will have the most leverage. But, if the Redskins fail to get a deal done, then they likely would lose Cousins on the open market next year. Yes, the franchise could use the transition tag on him (and commit to paying him $28 million for another year) so they have right of first refusal. But another team could still swoop in and outbid Washington, giving Cousins the fresh start he is believed to want.