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Washington considers tagging QB Kirk Cousins — ESPN's Schefter

Washington considers tagging QB Kirk Cousins — ESPN's Schefter

Kirk Cousins is set to be a free agent at the beginning of the new league year, but ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Washington might franchise tag the veteran quarterback and trade him. The thinking: Instead of letting Cousins walk for nothing more than a compensatory pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Washington can get much more than that for what many team's consider a legit franchise quarterback. He would be the top free agent on the market, with several motivated suitors, and could sign the richest contract in National Football League history.

During his interviews on Radio Row on Monday, Cousins repeated much of what he said at his end-of-season event with 106.7 The Fan last month about winning being more important than money and the ball being in the Redskins' court.

Cousins will be in demand if he hits free agency as an unrestricted free agent, with the Browns joining the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings among the teams that would likely show interest.

Until Cousins signs the tag, Washington would be on the hook for the amount of his tag, which, because he was tagged a year ago, would be approximately $34.5 million, or 120 percent of his 2017 salary. The 29-year-old could also tell interested teams that he wouldn't sign a long-term deal there.

By rule, teams that sign a franchise-tagged player must give up two first-round draft picks, though that can be negotiated - in 2009, the Patriots tagged Matt Cassel and sent both Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick, signing Cassel to a new contract.

Could Kirk Cousins be the solution for the Browns quarterback problems?

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During a subsequent interview on NFL Network's "Super Bowl Live" program, Cousins said the Redskins reached out and "just kind of explained what had happened" on Wednesday.

The franchise tagging window goes from February 20 to March 6. "I haven't had a chance to pick where I wanted to play since 2007 when I chose to go to Michigan State". All of it. They botched the Cousins situation by refusing to pay him market value with the guaranteed money he deserved. However, working around a franchise tag might limit Washington's leverage.

There are other factors at play in the Cousins sweepstakes. He has not missed a game in any of the past three seasons. If the team does not, they would then receive two draft picks.

This free agency class is loaded, with the biggest name surely being Bell in the backfield.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer agrees, saying a "prime location" for Cousins awaits in the Vikings.

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