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Kirk Cousins might file grievance if Washington uses franchise tag

Get your popcorn.

Just when things might finally seem close to being resolve for Kirk Cousins, it takes a hard right. Washington is reportedly considering using the franchise tag on him, and that has Cousins considering a grievance, according to Washington Post reporter Kimberley Martin.

Washington acquired Alex Smith in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, and are reportedly set to sign him to a four-year, $94 million contract when the trade is made official next month at the start of the new league year. They clearly are set to make him their starting quarterback, which means they would only franchise tag Cousins in order to get some kind of compensation via trade.

The question then is where that falls in terms of a good faith decision by Washington. Martin had this to say:

“The basis for the complaint is simple: 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.”

Kirk Cousins has had a rocky relationship with the Washington front office amidst two straight years of the franchise tag. Even though he will be leaving for a new team, it is only fitting that it ends with one last contentious bit of business.

If Washington does place the franchise tag on him, they will not be able to trade him until he signs the tender. However, they would still be left carrying the $34.5 million salary from the franchise tender. Right now, Washington has a projected $48.9 million in salary cap space. That does not include Cousins’ potential franchise tag or Smith’s contract extension.

Cousins is going to end up signing a long-term contract somewhere, but if he has to deal with the franchise tag first, this could slow down the quarterback market initially. If Denver, Arizona, Minnesota and others think Kirk Cousins is their answer, are they prepared to make a deal or wait it out and see if Washington removes the tag.

This all presumes they actually place the tag in the first place. Teams can start using the franchise tag on Tuesday, and have until March 6 to make their decisions. It will make for a couple interesting weeks to see how much spite dictates the next steps in this relationship.