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2017 Franchise Tag Window Has Opened For Redskins


Questions about Kirk Cousins' future in Washington have circulated for quite some time now, but the Redskins have two weeks to determine if they should place the franchise tag on him again.

The Washington Redskins now have until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1 to determine whether they'll place the franchise tag on one of the team's pending free agents.

Of course, the name that comes to mind with the franchise tag is quarterback Kirk Cousins, who just completed a season under the designation. The 2016 franchise tag cost for Cousins was nearly $20 million. If the Redskins place the franchise tag on Cousins again this season, though, the cap hit rises to nearly $24 million.

The conjecture around the team when it comes to the franchise tag is whether or not they'll place it on Cousins a second time. Cousins became only the second quarterback to play a season under the franchise tag in 2016 (Drew Brees in 2005 being the other).

Washington has two options with the franchise tag: exclusive and non-exclusive. Under the exclusive franchise tag, the player is not allowed to negotiate with other teams. They can, however, talk with other teams but their original team can match any offer placed on the table.

Even if the Redskins place the franchise tag on Cousins, the two sides will still have until July 15 to hammer out a potential long-term deal.

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said during last month's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., that the team "totally" anticipates Cousins being back under center for the 2017 season.

"We are excited about parlaying two very good years as starting quarterback, and the third year just continuing to watch him grow," Gruden said.

A fourth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Cousins served primarily as a backup his first three seasons before earning the full-time starting role for the 2015 season.

Take a look at the top photos of Kirk Cousins from the 2016 season.

Over the last two years, Cousins has started all 32 games for Washington and has completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 9,083 yards and 54 touchdown passes to just 23 interceptions. He's also recorded a quarterback rating of nearly 100 while leading the Redskins to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the 1996-1997 seasons.

The Michigan State product also now holds the two best franchise quarterback single-season marks in passing yards and completions and the past two years rank No. 1 and No. 6 in touchdown passes.

Additionally, he's the only player in franchise history to win NFC Offensive Player of the Month twice and became the first Redskins quarterback since Brad Johnson in 1999.

"I want to be where I'm wanted and if they tag mean that tells you that you're wanted," Cousins recently said. "They are not going to tag you or commit to you if they don't want you. So if they tag me then that's great and it means they want me back. Whether I sign a five-year deal or a one-year franchise tag, I'm going to feel like I'm on a one-year deal every year and have to prove myself week in and week out. If they tag me great it looks like I'm wanted. If they don't then that sends a strong message too and let's go look at our options."

If the Redskins do not place the franchise tag on Cousins prior to the March 1 deadline, the quarterback could hit the open market and would be eligible to sign with any team once the new league year begins on March 9 at 4 p.m.

Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld are under contract for the 2017 season. 

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