Kirk Cousins has signed the franchise player tender that the Washington Redskins extended to him on Feb. 28, his agent, Mike McCartney announced.
QB @KirkCousins8 has signed his Franchise contract
— Mike McCartney (@MikeMcCartney7) March 10, 2017
By doing so, Cousins locks in the guarantee of the one-year salary of $24 million owed to him as a quarterback playing on the franchise tag for a second straight year. Last season, Washington used the non-exclusive tag to retain Cousins’s services and he signed the deal the very next day, locking in a salary of $19.95 million.
Washington used the exclusive tag this year to prevent Cousins from being able to shop himself to other teams in hopes of soliciting a trade. Cousins didn’t immediately sign the tender, however, while he and his agent reviewed all of their options.
The Redskins still could trade Cousins, but they have yet to give the quarterback any indication that they intend to do so. Coach Jay Gruden and team president Bruce Allen both say they hope to work out a long-term deal. They have until July 15 to do so, and if unsuccessful, Cousins will play on the franchise tag for the 2017 season and then become a free agent in 2018.
Washington could use the franchise tag on Cousins a third year, but that means a pay jump to roughly $35 million. Such a move seems unlikely. The Redskins could, however, use the transition tag (guaranteed salary of $28 million) so they have right of first refusal. But the team wouldn’t get any compensation from another team if Cousins signed elsewhere and they declined to match.
Cousins is coming off of his second season as a starter, and in 2016 broke his own single-season franchise passing record as he threw for just under 5,000 yards while recording 25 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.