Odds Favor Kirk Cousins To Remain With Washington Redskins

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:15 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 2:15 PM UTC

Feb. 15 was the day that NFL teams could first decide to slap the franchise tag on one of their players, with the deadline for doing so by March 1. BookMaker sportsbook has released some odds on the futures of a couple of potential franchise players. Let’s examine those on Kirk Cousins.

The Washington Redskins slapped the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins before last season as the sides couldn’t work out a long-term contract. The Redskins essentially wanted to see Cousins prove himself again after completing 69.8 percent of his throws for 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns, 11 picks and rating of 101.6 in leading Washington to the NFC East title in the 2015 season. The team’s reasoning was sound as Cousins had never been a full-time starter before that year.

So Cousins got paid about $20 million last year on the franchise tag, which means the average of the top five salaried guys at a player’s position in the NFL. Cousins had a strong 2016 season in completing 67 percent of his throws for 4,917 yards (franchise record), 25 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a rating of 97.2. The Redskins missed the playoffs largely because Cousins threw a brutal interception late in a Week 17 loss to the New York Giants. Had Washington won that game, and the Skins were driving for a at worst a potential tying field goal before the pick (totally Cousins’ fault), it would have been a wild-card team.

Most expect the Redskins to slap the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins again if they can’t work out a deal. This year, that would mean Cousins would earn nearly $24 million and then hit unrestricted free agency in 2018. If Cousins is tagged, there’s not much incentive for him to agree a long-term deal because a huge payday would be coming in 2018 on the open market. Washington could theoretically tag him in again next year, but the 2018 tag would be $34.5 million and no team would pay that.

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Cousins isn’t a Top-10 QB, but he’s pretty good. Last year, he was reportedly looking for the value of the tag for 2016 and 2017 (nearly $44 million) to be guaranteed over the first two years of any long-term deal. Some believe the Redskins will give Cousins a deal worth more than Andrew Luck signed last year in becoming the highest-paid QB in football. Luck’s deal averages $24.594 million per season.

On BookMaker NFL odds, that Cousins is a member of the Redskins in Week 1 next season is a -250 favorite. It’s hard to see how the Skins let him go. As noted above, the deadline for the team to tag him is March 1. Then the sides have until July 15 to agree on a long-term deal. The San Francisco 49ers are +700. Their new head coach is Kyle Shanahan, who once was Washington’s offensive coordinator and thus knows Cousins well. The Niners could make a trade proposal to Washington.

The New York Jets are +900, followed by the Chicago Bears (+1200), Cleveland Browns (+1300) and the field (+600). Washington is the smart NFL pick here as the only way Cousins isn’t in a Redskins uniform in 2017 is if some team makes Washington an obscene trade offer.

The Redskins are +5300 on NFL futures odds to win Super Bowl LII.

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