The Washington Redskins decided to use a non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins on Tuesday. Here is why the situation was executed perfectly.
The Washington Redskins were able to buy some time with their negotiations on Tuesday, in placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Cousins, a fourth round pick for the Redskins in 2012, is now slated to make 19.95 million next season if he and the Redskins cannot come to a long-term deal by the July 15th deadline. If a deal isn’t reached by both parties, Cousins will be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL next season, in terms of guaranteed money.
Although the overall amount of money Cousins is expected to make next season may not sound appeasing, the whole situation was handled correctly.
Entering the 2015 NFL season with a 2-7 record as a starting quarterback, Cousins silenced the critics with a 9-7 season in 2015, while throwing for 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns passes. He accumulated the fifth highest quarterback rating in the NFL, while actually leading the league in completion percentage.
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Cousins showed that he is capable of being a franchise leading quarterback in the NFL, especially in the second half of the 2015 season, but there are some flaws to his success if you are looking at it from a long-term investment standpoint.
After a 2-4 start, the Redskins finished the season with a 7-3 record on the back of Cousins who led the way. He threw 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions during that 10 game span, while leading the Redskins to a NFC East division title.
But was the sample size in that 10 game span worth what Cousins is reportedly asking for?
Reportedly, the Redskins offered Cousins $12.5 million per year, and then increased that to $15 million per year. With the franchise tag for the quarterback position around $20 million next season, you have to wonder what Cousins was asking for, or if he just wanted the pay increase for next season.
It seems as if he is betting on himself, which works in the Redskins favor, as they would not be tied down to him, if he does under perform in 2016 with a long-term contract. With the Redskins winning the NFC East in 2015, their schedule will also be a bit tougher in 2016, which will really put Cousins under the microscope.
If a deal, isn’t made by that July 15th deadline, it’s safe to say that the 2016 season will be an absolute career defining year for Cousins and how far he goes in this league.
I do want to point out, that there is nothing I have seen this season that suggests Cousins isn’t capable of becoming a franchise leading starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, but his initial woes coming into the season would have me weary if I am making the decision to pay him money that would rank among elite quarterbacks in the NFL, long-term.
The non-exclusive tag does allow Cousins to sign with another team, but would require that team to compensate two first round selections to the Redskins as well, which quite frankly isn’t worth it for somebody who truly hasn’t proven himself just yet, meaning it’s more than likely that you see him in Washington next season.
Coming into the 2015 off-season, I think many agreed that Cousins deserved to get paid, but for how much was the real issue. It sounds like he and his camp are asking for too much money for a performance that shouldn’t warrant to be paid among the NFL’s elite.
The 10 game span in 2015, could end up being misleading, and paying a player that much money for such a limited sample size can burn franchises badly.
In securing Cousins, and solidifying the quarterback position next season, the Redskins can set their sights on other areas of their team. Multiple roster moves should be coming quickly, which would include cutting Robert Griffin III, whose $16 million dollar salary becomes guaranteed if he is still on the roster on March 9th.
Tagging Cousins non-exclusively works out well for the Redskins, with not being tied down to a long-term deal for a quarterback who has only proven himself within a limited sample size. There is nothing to suggest Cousins can’t continue the success he sustained through the final 10 games of the season, but with the amount of money he was asking for, he’s just not worth that type of investment.
At least not yet.