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Explaining Kirk Cousins' Exclusive Franchise Tag

Posted Feb 28, 2017

Now that the Washington Redskins have placed the exclusive franchise tag on Kirk Cousins, get the lowdown on what that means for the quarterback.

The Washington Redskins on Tuesday announced that quarterback Kirk Cousins has been given the franchise tag designation for the second straight year.

Unlike last year when Cousins was given the non-exclusive franchise tag, the Redskins have placed the exclusive tag on the Michigan State product.

So what exactly is the exclusive franchise tag and how does it differ from the non-exclusive franchise tag?

The exclusive franchise tag is also a one-year tender, however, only the Redskins have negotating rights with Cousins.

That means that Cousins can only sign the tender with the Redskins (the non-exclusive tag would have allowed him to negotiate with other teams. Washington would have either been able to match the offer or receive two first-round picks in exchange.)

However, once he has signed his tender the Redskins can still potentially trade him if they elected to take that avenue. 

Washington and Cousins' representatives still have until July 15 to sign a potential long-term deal, though. Additionally, Cousins will make 120 percent of his 2016 salary when the tender is signed.

As of Tuesday afternoon, only 17 other players have received the exclusive rights tag and only four have played a season under it.

Since the now-famous “You like that!” game between the Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015, Cousins has the NFL’s passer rating (104.7) among quarterbacks with at least 500 attempts.

He’s also led the Redskins to a 17-14-1 regular season record and passed for at least 4,000 yards each of the last two years after earning the starting nod for the 2015 regular season opener.

Check back with Redskins.com for more coverage on Cousins and the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. 

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