If the Redskins opted to use the transition tag on Cousins, the quarterback himself would have another option - he could refuse to bring a deal to the Redskins to match, in which case he would receive a one-year contract worth $28.8 million, the highest single-season salary in National Football League history.
Washington still could make a last-minute push to try to get a deal done by the Monday deadline; however, Cousins fully intends to play this season under his franchise tag, worth $23.9 million in 2017.
Redskins president Bruce Allen released a statement to fans shortly after the deadline, saying that the team had offered Cousins $53 million guaranteed, with a $72 million injury guarantee, in a long-term contract.
If Washington uses the franchise tag again for 2018, Cousins would get a 44 percent raise to $34.47 million, or they could transition tag him at a cost of $28.78 million. Cousins also said that he is interested in staying in Washington beyond this season, even though he's set to spark a bidding war as a free agent next offseason.
Miscalculated, misjudged and the biggest miss of all, is when the Redskins miss Cousins when he goes to another team. All signs point to one not getting done and for Cousins to play a second year under the franchise tag. If both sides can not find some middle ground on a long-term, the possibility of Cousins staying with the Redskins remain. "When you look around the league and you see great quarterbacks, they've almost all played for one team".
Allen flew to MI for last-minute talks with Cousins, but ultimately nothing could be worked out.
Yet, the May offer is on par for how the Redskins have miscalculated Cousins in this entire process. The Redskins then could still have tagged him but also engaged in legitimate trade talks - just to see what's out there.
Cousins bet on himself last season then came up aces, rewriting franchise passing records.
Asked by former QB Joe Theismann if he wanted to be a member of the Redskins, Cousins said yes and called it "an easy answer".
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Kirk Cousins could easily feel uncertain about his future with the Washington Redskins.
Provided Cousins becomes the grand test case for quarterback free agents, he will have plenty of quarterback-hungry suitors.
Cousins threw for 4,917 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2016.
Between the conclusion of minicamp last month and training camp, Cousins said that he was going to take his downtime to unwind a little bit before once again going through the demands of a 16-game regular season.
"I understand where (Allen) and the organization are coming from", Cousins said.
Cousins is about to begin his third season as the team's starting quarterback, and his third season making weekly paid appearances on 106.7 the Fan.
If Buffalo moves on from Taylor following the 2017 season, the Bills could be a dark horse candidate for Cousins.
Cousins long has been linked to the 49ers because of his connection with head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was Washington's offensive coordinator when Cousins was drafted in 2012 and who developed an affinity for his coach.
"Kirk is a really good player and he's a Redskin and we only want him to be here", Schaffer said.
How'd we get here?