ProFootballTalk.com on Saturday used the salary cap figures to calculate the franchise tag and transition tag values for the 2016 season.
If the Washington Redskins decide to place the franchise tag on quarterback
The Redskins have a March 1 deadline to decide whether or not to use their franchise tag on Cousins, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at 4 p.m. ET March 9 if the team and Cousins’ representatives are unable to agree to terms of a multi-year deal before that point.
Here is a description of each NFL tag option, courtesy of NFL.com:
- The exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position, or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater. The player's team has all negotiating rights to the player.
- The non-exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position, or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate with other teams. The player's current team has the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
- The transition tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may receive from another team. The transition tag can only be used if the franchise tag is not used by a team in that year. Transition tags can be rescinded, but teams that rescind a transition tag cannot use it again until next season.
Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said this week that the team would much rather lock Cousins in to a multi-year deal than use the tag on Cousins, which can be less club-friendly in future seasons.
“Well I’d rather not, any year with any position,” McCloughan said of the tag. “I’d rather just get a long-term deal done and guarantee some money so you have that flexibility. But again, it’s an option that you have if you need to use, but me personally I like to take care of our own, get them locked in to an extension and not have to worry about the franchise tag.”
If the Redskins do decide to use the franchise tag on Cousins, the two sides can continue to negotiate a longer-term deal until July 15, however.
Cousins is coming off one of the best performances by a quarterback in Redskins history in 2015. The Pro Football Writers of America’s NFL’s Most Improved Player recipient, the Michigan State product set team records in passing yards (4,166), attempts (543), completions (379) and 300-yard passing games (seven). Cousins moved the ball through the air efficiently, completing 69.8 percent of passes for the second-highest completion percentage in Redskins history (eighth-best in NFL history) and recording the third-highest passer rating in franchise history (101.6).
In the Redskins’ final 10 games, Cousins guided the Redskins to a 7-3 record, throwing for 274 yards per game with 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions en route to an NFC East title, which they claimed with a 38-24 Week 16 drubbing of the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Cousins has said on multiple occasions that he would like to return to Washington to continue the momentum from a successful 2015 campaign.
The team will announce soon whether he’ll return due to a long-term deal or due to the franchise or transition tag – or if they’ll let him test free agency.
“It’ll be interesting to see where we’re at,” Cousins said at the end of the season. “I’m hoping for an opportunity to be the guy here for a long time and hopefully build on this season.”