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Washington to franchise or transition QB Kirk Cousins, or maybe not

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Kirk Cousins may or may not stick around Washington for at least one more year, depending on the source. Adam Schefter is reporting the team is going to designate him as their franchise player. Mike Florio followed up in full-on anti-ESPN snark mode claiming a source told him the team has not made a decision, but the current plan is to not use the franchise tag. Ian Rapoport followed up with a third possibility. He said a source told him the team is considering the transition tag as well, but leaving their options open.

Teams have until Tuesday, March 1 to announce their franchise and transition tags, so Washington is likely going to wait until then to formally place the tag. The transition tag gives Washington the right of first refusal on an outside contract offer, but if Washington does not match the deal, they get nothing in return. The tender is cheaper than the franchise tag, but obviously significantly less valuable in potential return if the player departs.

Florio did make a good point about the franchise tag. The franchise tag tender is expected to be around $20 million, so that would conceivably set a floor for contract negotiations. If Cousins puts together another big year, that's not necessarily a bad price, but Washington might not want to be stuck in such a situation.

My guess is Washington ends up tagging Cousins. Of course, Washington only has about $13 million in cap space right now, so they would need to make some moves to clear space. It will make for an interesting few days leading up to Tuesday, March 1.