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Kirk Cousins, Washington break off talks; here comes the franchise tag

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There are still two weeks to get something figured out, but it would appear Washington will be using their franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. Adam Schefter is reporting the two sides have broken off contract talks, and nothing further is scheduled.

The two sides could eventually come back to the table, but odds are pretty good this means the team will designate Cousins their franchise player by the March 1 deadline. Cousins is coming off a big 2015 season, but it is also his first full season as a starter. He could end up being the real deal, or he could be some kind of flash in the pan. Neither side can say anything with certainty, and so the franchise tag could give both sides a year to see where things stand.

Assuming the tag is used, it is going to be interesting to see if another team decides Cousins can be a franchise quarterback. If a team actually thinks that, they might be plenty willing to sacrifice two first round picks and a big contract. I don't expect that to happen this year, but it is possible. And if Cousins puts up another big year, a second straight season of the non-exclusive franchise tag likely would definitely not be enough to keep him around. Of course, with a second strong year under his belt, Washington would probably be much more willing to open up the vault.