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Kirk Cousins seems ready to join the 49ers in 2017 or 2018, so why deal big picks?

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There is one reason to do a trade, but even that should not involve a significant price for the 49ers.

Everything appears to be a dumpster fire in Washington right now, and while the Kirk Cousins situation and Scot McCloughan situation might not be directly related, they point to the continued dysfunction in our nation’s capitol.

We are hearing numerous reports out of Washington regarding Kirk Cousins’ future, and as the situation further deteriorates, it’s safe to say this will only increase. The latest comes from Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting.

Even if you don’t know Eric or are unsure of his report, it certainly adds to everything we’ve heard. And it points to a situation where the 49ers have as much leverage as I think anybody can have on one side of a trade. Oftentimes, a player wants out of a situation and has several teams he would consider. In this case, it is no secret he wants to play for Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers.

There is absolutely zero reason for the 49ers to give up a first round pick for Kirk Cousins. I suppose an argument can be made for swapping first round picks, but even that could be pushing out. There are reports Dan Snyder does not want to deal Cousins to Shanahan because of petty personal BS. If that is the case, then this whole thing is moot for 2017.

However, if a trade is possible, why deal more than something like a third round pick? If the 49ers do not do a deal, Cousins potentially plays out the season under the franchise tag. That leaves Washington with three options next offseason:

  1. Franchise him again and give him a 44 percent pay raise. That would put him at close to a $35 million price tag for 2018, both in cash spent and cap hit.
  2. They place the transition tag on him. If they did that, they would pay approximately $28 million on the tender. Cousins could speak to another team, and if he agreed to an offer sheet, Washington would either match it, or let him walk with zero compensation.
  3. Let him leave as an unrestricted free agent. Washington could net a third round comp pick depending on the rest of their signings.

The biggest potential hurdle for the 49ers among those scenarios is the second one. The 49ers could sign Cousins to an offer sheet, only to have Washington match it. The 49ers could structure the deal as to make it untenable for Washington’s cap, but with the cap rising a significant amount each season, it is possible Washington would decide it is worth matching, leaving the 49ers with nothing.

One could argue that is a reason to try and do a deal now, if a deal is even possible. But the situation remains such a disaster of a situation that I don’t know how it will play out. I don’t think a trade happens, and that leaves the mystery of next year. If the 49ers are confident they can land him next year, the team is in a position where they might as well not rush things.