Kirk Cousins, Redskins Reportedly Discussing Long-Term Contract Extension

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2017

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins passes the ball against the New York Giants in the second quarter at FedExField on January 1, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins have reportedly engaged in discussions about a long-term contract extension this week.

Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post reported Thursday the talks haven't led to substantial progress as the sides "aren't close to a deal." The team announced the use of the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins on Tuesday to ensure he wouldn't become an unrestricted free agent.

Chris Wesseling of NFL.com noted the quarterback is set to make $23.94 million if he plays under the tag for the second straight season in 2017. The Redskins were offering an extension in the neighborhood of $20 million per year, according to Tesfatsion.

Washington now has until July 15 in order to reach a long-term agreement with Cousins. That's the deadline to make a new deal with a player who's been tagged.

Alden Gonzalez of ESPN pointed out Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is optimistic the sides will find enough common ground before that key date.

"I think it'll happen; I really do," Gruden said. "We'll wait and see."

It's no surprise an offer of $20 million annually didn't gain much traction with Cousins' camp. That amount would barely crack the top 10 among quarterback cap hits for next season, per Spotrac. He'd be fourth on that list by playing under the tag.

The key question is what happens if an extension isn't reached by mid-July.

John Keim of ESPN reported Tuesday the quarterback would prefer to be dealt to the San Francisco 49ers, where he could reunite with former offensive coordinator and new Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan, if the front office decides to move him.

That said, the report also noted he wouldn't attempt to block a trade with another team, he just wouldn't immediately look to sign an extension. It's unclear what other QB-needy teams would be willing to offer for what could become a one-year rental.

Kevin Jones of KNBR relayed comments Cousins made last month about the outside interest.

"It's good to be wanted," he said. "So hopefully down the road there will be people wanting me. But we'll see how it all plays out. The unique thing about the franchise tag is if the Redskins choose to place that on me, then I'm pretty much off the market. So we'll see what they choose to do come March 1. And the ball is in their court, along those lines, but based on that, I'll react accordingly."

Meanwhile, the Redskins don't have a clear answer currently on the roster to replace Cousins. So they will likely spend the next three months exploring alternative options in case an extension doesn't come to fruition and they try to move him.

Along with the 49ers, the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams and New York Jets are among the teams looking to upgrade at quarterback this offseason.

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