Washington chose not to apply the franchise tag to Kirk Cousins by the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday, which means the quarterback will be a free agent on March 14.
Cousins addressed the situation on Twitter, even asking his followers for suggestions about where to play in 2018:
Cousins' time in the nation's capital seemed likely to end after Washington agreed to acquire Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs in January, per the Kansas City Star.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Smith had also agreed to a four-year contract extension with Washington.
However, Schefter added intrigue to the situation Feb. 4, noting Washington was thinking of tagging Cousins for the third straight year in an effort to trade him for a package that would allow it to bring back assets after agreeing to deal a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for Smith.
There was a potential downside to that plan for Washington, which Schefter noted: "If Cousins wanted, he could delay signing it for weeks or even months, with the Redskins having to count his approximate $34.5 million against their salary cap."
The latter situation would be particularly dire for Washington, which entered this offseason with $47.7 million in cap space, per Over the Cap.
Cousins was a consistent presence as Washington's starting quarterback, with at least 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns per year over the past three seasons. The 29-year-old has tremendous value because of his age and track record of success.
Washington has been trending in the wrong direction, recording just seven wins last season, its fewest since going 4-12 in 2014. Head coach Jay Gruden and his staff are going to take things in a different direction with Smith.
Cousins will likely be the most sought-after quarterback when free agency begins next week. He won't need to wait long to find a team ready and willing to give him the long-term contract Washington never did.