The deadline has come and go, and the Washington Redskins and Kirk Cousins were unable to come together on a long-term deal. As a result, Cousins will play under the franchise tag this season before getting a chance to test the free agent waters in 2018.
Washington had until Monday afternoon to reach a deal with their starting quarterback. Despite offering a five-year deal with one guaranteed season, Washington was unable to convince Cousins that was the best possible deal for him.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) July 17, 2017
As noted by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the ball is now in Washington’s court to try and convince Cousins to stick around moving forward. Otherwise, Cousins could end up somewhere else, whether he is traded this season or opts to leave in free agency a year from now.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 17, 2017
Cousins is not alone in the franchise tag category. The Pittsburgh Steelers failed to reach an agreement with running back Le’Veon Bell, which means Bell will play the upcoming season under the franchise tag.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 17, 2017
Bell is arguably one of the top running backs in the NFL right now, but the Steelers are wise to be a tad reluctant to invest too much money at the running back position considering the lifespan of running backs in the NFL. And they may end up benefitting from the lack of a deal as Bell will be looking to prove his worth to the Steelers and the rest of the league. Maybe Pittsburgh ends up paying more down the road, but if that means winning games this season, that is worth the risk.
Coincidentally enough, Bell and Cousins were teammates at Michigan State for two seasons.
The list of players on the last year of their respective contracts continued to grow with some other notable names. Among them were Drew Brees, Sammy Watkins, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Notable players now on expiring contracts: Le'Veon Bell, Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Sammy Watkins, Jimmy Garoppolo.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 17, 2017
Ahh yes, Jimmy Garoppolo, the supposed heir to the throne once Tom Brady steps aside. The Patriots are keeping their hands on Garoppolo with the expectation he will be ready to take over when the time comes. Or they can trade him to Washington when the Redskins end up moving Cousins somewhere.
Franchise tags are not a terrible situation for teams or for players, even if it means there are some negotiating frustrations on either or both sides. But they exist for the sole reason of ensuring a player will be paid decently while allowing for more time to work out long-term deals. Whether Washington or Pittsburgh can use this extra time to sort out contractual differences remains to be seen, but it certainly adds some more headlines to follow as training camps approach.