- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2017

PHOENIX — There have been too many Kirk Cousins trade rumors for Redskins President Bruce Allen to keep track of, he says, but none of them are real.

Speaking Sunday at the Arizona Biltmore, the site of the NFL’s annual meetings, Allen said that the Redskins have no intention of trading Cousins and still have their sights set on reaching a long-term deal.

“Yeah. He signed and obviously we have an option for next year on him but our goal is to get a long-term deal. That hasn’t changed and we’ve had those discussions,” Allen said.

Really, the Redskins have a few options for 2018, it’s just that none of them are exactly ideal. There’s the possibility of using the franchise tag for a third-straight year on Cousins, but that would cost the team approximately $34.5 million just for 2018 and drive Cousins‘ three-year price up to nearly $78 million.

That seems financially implausible, even with a rising salary cap.

The argument that Cousins would grow ever-more frustrated if prevented from hitting the open market once again, though, probably wouldn’t be a real factor with that kind of guaranteed salary in place.

Cousins himself doesn’t seem to think it’s outside the realm of possibility, nor does it seem like he’d mind (and why would he?).

“I’ve heard people say there’s no chance they’ll franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season and I chuckle,” Cousins said on Adam Schefter’s ESPN podcast earlier this month. “Because, if a team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row, it’s because they expect me to play at a high level. I think if we play at a very high level and the goal for every team in this league is to win a Super Bowl and if we go win a Super Bowl I’m pretty confident they’re going to be tagging me and bringing me back.”

As Cousins mentioned, the Redskins could also use the transition tag on him for 2018. It would cost them $28 million if he played under it, but would require the team to accept the risk that another team could make Cousins an offer they didn’t want to match. Were that to happen, the Redskins wouldn’t get any kind of compensation for Cousins from the team signing him or from the league via compensatory draft picks.

The best thing from the team’s perspective, if they want to keep Cousins around as they say they do, is to get a long-term deal done before the July 15 deadline. Allen said it was most likely that a deal would happen closer to then, if one happened at all.

“I’d like to do it today,” Allen said. “I know the league has the deadline of July 15, and it seems that most deals always come together toward the deadline.”

Allen said that Redskins top negotiator Eric Schaffer has been having ongoing conversations with Cousins‘ representation.

If those don’t pan out, the team will either have to sign some pretty big checks or accept the risk of losing Cousins without getting anything in return — either via the transition tag or free agent market. Maybe they’ll be willing to take it in a year but, for now, they’ll try to work things out over the next three months in order to avoid having to.

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