Apparently, that might not happen.
ESPN reported Sunday that the Redskins are discussing using the franchise tag to retain Cousins for the objective of seeking a trade to recoup assets after agreeing to a deal earlier this week to acquire Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs.
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. And Washington could again choose to go down this road with Cousins, tagging him for an unprecedented third straight year.
There is some inherent risk with this move, though.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Redskins are weighing the possibility of using their franchise tag on Cousins, a move that could lead to the two sides getting stuck in what Schefter described as "an offseason game of chicken". Why give away valuable assets when the Jets not only have an abundance of cap space to target any free agent quarterback they wish, but can take a quarterback with the No. 6 pick in the 2018 National Football League draft?More news: Rose McGowan Cancels Public Appearances After Shouting Match At Book Event
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Kansas City will receive a third-round draft pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller from Washington in exchange for Smith.
To make matters worse for the Redskins, if Cousins did refuse to sign the franchise tag and the team then pulled the tag to free up the cap space, they would lose the right to their 2019 compensation draft pick.
Cousins failed to reach a long-term deal in previous talks with the Redskins, which included former general manager Scot McCloughan until he was let go last February. The team can not complete the trade without him doing so.
"At the end of the day, I want to win", Cousins said Friday. So maybe he wouldn't delay signing the tag's tender.
That's why it makes sense for the Redskins to at least explore trading Cousins. With Cousins' albatross salary on the books, the Redskins would have to change their free agency plans, as they will have to account for Cousins' cap number while engaging in contract negotiations with other players. March 12 is the date for teams to get in contact with players set to become unrestricted free agents at that 4 p.m. deadline on March 14, with a ton of action happening that week. But the decision is a gamble - and one that could easily backfire.