LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. - Kirk Cousins is under contract be the Redskins quarterback in 2017. But his future in burgundy and gold beyond this season is like a deep pass on third and long - it's very much up in the air.
The Redskins failed to reach a long-term contract with their QB prior to Monday's 4pm deadline to do so with players who received the franchise tag. Without a new deal, Cousins will earn $23.9 million in 2017 as he plays the season on a year contract under the franchise tag - becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to play two straight seasons under the franchise tag.
However, according to a statement from the Redskins - the team tried to ink its quarterback.
"Our goal was to sign Kirk to a long-term contract with the final objective of having him finish his career with the Redskins," team president Bruce Allen said in a statement addressing contract negotiations. "On May 2nd, right after the draft, we made Kirk an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury," Allen added. "The deal would have made him at least the second highest-paid player by average per year in NFL history."
Allen goes on to reveal Kirk Cousins' agent, Mike McCartney, did not present an offer to the team this year.
By playing back-to-back season under the franchise tag, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Cousins will have "more leverage than any player has had in any recent year." He also cites sources claiming Cousins would be open to signing a long-term deal with the 'Skins after 2017.
Last month, newly-promoted Washington Senior VP of Player Personnel Doug Williams said the franchise wants Cousins to sign a long-term deal "in the worst way". Per the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, because he's playing 2017 on the franchise tag, Washington cannot negotiate with Cousins until after the season.
Signing Kirk to a long-term deal after the 2017 season is not the only way for the Redskins to keep their record-setting quarterback for 2018 and beyond. Washington could either use the franchise tag on Cousins for a third straight year, which would pay Cousins more than $34 million in a one year salary, or designate Captain Kirk as a transition player.
If the Redskins use the transition tag on Cousins, the QB would be able to negotiate with other teams - however Washington would be able to exercise its right of first refusal and match any offer Kirk receives from another franchise.
In 2016, Cousins finished with single-season team records in attempts, completions and passing yards and matched his team record for 300-yard passing games (seven).
For his career, Cousins has appeared in 46 regular season games with 41 starts, completing 1,025-of-1,556 pass attempts for 12,113 yards with 72 touchdowns and 42 interceptions - all with the Redskins. Kirk's record as a starting QB is 19-and-21, with one tie.