February 27, 2017
Kirk Cousins would consider signing a long-term deal with the San Francisco 49ers, ESPN.com’s John Keim reported Monday.
The 49ers would be a good fit for Cousins. The franchise is in dire need of a proven quarterback after the collective failures of Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert in 2016. San Francisco’s new head coach, Kyle Shanahan, also worked with Cousins as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013.
Washington has until 4 p.m. ET Wednesday to decide whether it will use the franchise tag on Cousins this offseason.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Feb. 20 that Cousins plans to force the team’s hand by not signing an extension until the team uses the tag, which will carry a $23.94 million guaranteed salary for 2017.
The Redskins are in a difficult position. The franchise tag would give Cousins the highest base salary of any quarterback in the league for the second year in a row, according to Spotrac. Should Washington opt against using the tag, though, it would spark a bidding war for Cousins’ services.
Keim wrote a trade may not be out of the question:
That’s why with all the options as to what can happen if he’s tagged by Wednesday’s deadline, one has a higher percentage of happening: a trade. The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said last week that he thought there was a better chance that Cousins would be traded than that he would return. It’s hard to argue against that, and some close to Cousins say that’s what the Redskins want to do anyway, knowing that signing him to a long-term deal will be difficult. It may even be impossible, given their different positions on what his ability is worth.
Keim added, however, that Cousins’ desire to only sign with the 49ers diminishes Washington’s leverage. However, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reported Tuesday that Cousins “would be open” to other teams than Washington or San Francisco, noting the Cleveland Browns are “intriguing.”
Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson argued the situation reflects the Redskins’ internal problems. The team didn’t reach an agreement on a long-term deal with Cousins last offseason, when it would’ve been cheaper to do so, and now, Washington has painted itself into a corner.
Cousins bet on himself this time last year and threw for 4,917 yards and 25 touchdowns with 12 interceptions en route to his first Pro Bow. Now, he holds all the cards, and he’ll be paid handsomely whether he plays in the nation’s capital, the Bay Area or elsewhere.