The Broncos got a close look at Cousins in Week 16, when the veteran bounced back from a 1-for-7 start to finish with 299 yards passing, three touchdowns, a 94.3 passer rating and a win over the Broncos.
Why the Redskins would use the franchise tag on Cousins.
Well, there are a few potential hangups here for Washington.
"Whatever you say, sir", Cousins replies. And the moment he does that, his $34.478 million salary for 2018 would become fully guaranteed. This would eat up almost $50 million of available cap space (between Cousins and Smith).
But Cousins could also undercut any return by telling teams that express interest in trading for him that he would not sign a long-term contract in 2018.
However this plays out, I think the Washington Redskins are making a big mistake by tagging Cousins.
From Cousins' perspective, he perhaps would not want to turn this into a drawn-out process, because that might mean missing spring practices (which are valuable for an incoming quarterback) with his new team.
Kirk Cousins is still the lead horse in the race because he could potentially ruin any trade that is out there, that he doesn't approve of, which puts the Skins in a risky situation.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, which would allow him to choose his next National Football League team (just like Peyton Manning did in 2012). "I would enjoy gathering the information and talking with him and learning more about Denver along with the other teams that are out there". Could the Jets be in the mix?
By rule, teams that sign a franchise-tagged player must give up two first-round draft picks, though that can be negotiated - in 2009, the Patriots tagged Matt Cassel and sent both Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick, signing Cassel to a new contract.