If so, the Redskins know who will take snaps from center beyond 2016 and Cousins gets a big chunk of guaranteed money. If no, the QB plays the upcoming season under the franchise tag and both sides head into an uncertain future.
A recent report from Pro Football Talk suggests the latter.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, nothing is happening by way of negotiations between Cousins and the team, and nothing will be happening. The two sides won’t be reaching a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline.
Depending on how one interprets the public comments from both sides, this isn't exactly breaking news. Interpretation of the Redskins' side has Washington wanting Cousins to show that his record-setting 2015 season was no fluke. Meanwhile, Cousins, whose salary jumped from $660,000 last season to $19.95 million in 2016 no matter what happens, is seemingly content to let it ride.
Yet as the deadline looms, reality starts to kick in. More from PFT:
The divide is driven by the realities of the franchise tag. By already committing $19.95 million to Cousins under the franchise tag for 2016, Washington will have to give him a 20-percent raise or let him hit the open market in March 2017. That’s $23.94 million for 2017.
So the starting point for negotiations on a long-term deal is clear: $19.95 million for 2016 plus $23.94 million for 2017 for a total of $43.89 million over two years. ... However, a year from now the starting point becomes $23.94 million for 2017 plus a 44-percent raise for 2018, or $34.47 million. That’s $58.41 million for two years, if Cousins plays this year like he did last year.
As PFT notes, this chain of events began essentially because the Redskins offered Cousins the franchise tag rather than let the market set a price. Good. Let other teams in this QB-starved league have a shot at landing one and the risk spikes even with the opportunity to match an offer.
Cousins, who famously drove a 15-year-old conversion van to work last season and notably served as the backup to Robert Griffin III for three years without any real chance at starting full-time, doesn't seem rattled. As he said of his franchise tag salary last month, "I really have no issue with it. In order to sign an additional contract beyond that, it would need to be a deal that puts me in a great opportunity, a great spot because already the franchise tag does that. I'm very content and ready to go play."
The two sides have to work out a deal. It's easy to see why they won't. Cousins can play out this season and sign a new deal next year with no fuss. Tension can also build because money has that power.
One week and few hours until uncertainty strikes.
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