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Washington might use franchise tag on Kirk Cousins

I hope this blows up in their face.

I can’t imagine being a Washington fan right now. Well, really for most if not all of the Dan Snyder era, but generally speaking, right now it’s pretty brutal. They have royally messed up the Kirk Cousins situation, and now find themselves with a quarterback a little over four years older than him. Alex Smith is a very capable quarterback. And I get that Washington just did not quite love Cousins enough. But swapping out Cousins for Smith? I don’t quite get it.

Of course, it is only fitting that Washington is not yet done jerking Cousins around. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting they are considering using the franchise tag on Cousins so they can then trade him. Washington gave up a third round pick and Kendall Fuller for Smith, and now wants to figure out some kind of compensation beyond a potential 2019 third round comp pick.

I get wanting to get more compensation for Cousins, but it feels like they have shot themselves in the foot in terms of leverage. A team likely would do a deal with them to get exclusive rights to Cousins, but is anybody to give up much of anything to a team that already made it clear they cannot keep him?

Washington currently has a projected $47 million in cap space for 2018. That does not reflect Alex Smith’s contract, nor does it reflect a franchise tag for Cousins. Smith’s deal is worth a reported $23.5 million per year, but we don’t know the specifics to figure out cap hits. Cousins’ franchise tag would be worth over $34 million. If Washington does not find a trade partner quickly, they will be hamstrung in free agency while Cousins is still on the books.

There are reports the Minnesota Vikings are high on Cousins’ list, and the Denver Broncos are among the betting favorites to land Cousins. If you are one or the other, are you willing to trade some picks to make this happen? I can’t imagine it would cost much, but with the desperate need for QB help, maybe a bidding war develops. It’s sure to shake up free agency and the draft.