Report: Kirk Cousins Will File Grievance If Redskins Franchise Tag Him

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2018

FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2017, file photo, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. Cousins says he is likely to wait until March for any possible negotiations with the Washington Redskins, indicating he would first make the team decide whether to apply a transition or franchise tag on him for the third year in a row. Appearing at a fan forum aired live on 106.7 The Fan, the local radio station on which the quarterback makes weekly regular-season appearances, Cousins said Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, he believes the Redskins are
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Kirk Cousins will reportedly file a grievance with the players' union against the Washington Redskins if they designate him as their franchise-tag player, according to the Washington Post's Kimberley A. Martin.

Teams will be able to designate franchise and transition tags beginning on Tuesday and will have until March 6 to make those decisions.

If the Redskins sign Cousins to the franchise tag for the third year in a row, he will be unable to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins March 14.

According to Martin, "Cousins could argue that the organization is violating the terms of the collective bargaining agreement because the team has no intention of engaging in good-faith negotiations on a long-term deal, or having him play under the franchise tag amount of $34.5 million guaranteed in 2018."

Cousins' contention would be backed by the team's recent agreement to trade a 2018 third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for quarterback Alex Smith, per the Kansas City Star's Terez A. Paylor.

Once the deal is made official, the Redskins are expected to sign Smith to a four-year, $94 million extension that includes $71 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

For Washington, tagging Cousins would be a move motivated by self-interest. Essentially, doing so would allow the team to pursue a trade in order to extract value for Cousins so he can't bolt at no cost in free agency.

However, the move would also be accompanied by tremendous risk.

First and foremost, there's no guarantee a trade partner would be willing to pay Cousins $34.5 million in 2018. On top of that, the Redskins would be sacrificing $34.5 million against the salary cap in order to pursue a trade—a move that would seriously limit their spending power on the open market.

Cousins, 29, completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 4,093 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season.

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