After receiving the franchise tag earlier this year, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins will play the 2017 season under the one-year deal.
For the second consecutive season, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins will play under the franchise tag. Monday marked the deadline for franchise tagged players and clubs to come to terms on potential long-term agreements, but, for now, Cousins does not have a new contract with the Redskins.
With Cousins playing under the franchise tag in 2017, it will mark the first time in NFL history that a quarterback will play back-to-back seasons with the designation.
"After discussions with Kirk face-to-face over the weekend, I want to clarify our negotiations for this year," said Redskins President Bruce Allen. "Kirk is obviously important to our team and fans, and they deserve to know where things stand. Our goal was to sign Kirk to a long-term contract with the final objective of having him finish his career with the Redskins.
"On May 2nd, right after the draft, we made Kirk an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury. The deal would have made him at least the second highest-paid player by average per year in NFL history. But despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk's agent this year.
Allen added that Cousins has "made it clear that he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis."
"While we would have liked to work out a long-term contract before this season, we accept his decision. We both share high hopes for this season and we are looking forward to training camp starting next week. And we remain hopeful that a long-term contract will be signed in the future."
Cousins is entering his sixth season with the Redskins and third as the team's starting quarterback after originally being selected in the fourth round (102nd overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft. For his career, the Michigan State product has appeared in 46 regular season games with 41 starts, completing 1,025-of-1,556 pass attempts for 12,113 yards with 72 touchdowns and 42 interceptions.
While Cousins only spot started in his first three seasons, he earned starting quarterback duties for the 2015 season.
Over the last two years, Cousins has guided the Redskins to a 17-14-1 regular season record and an NFC East title in 2015. During that span, Cousins has passed for more than 9,000 yards with 54 touchdown passes to 23 interceptions. He is also the only player in franchise history to win multiple NFC Offensive Player of the Month awards.
Although Washington will now have to wait until next season to potential lock Cousins into a new contract, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden remains optimistic that the 28-year-old will build on his strong play from the last two years.
"I have a lot of respect for Kirk and what he's done and what he's accomplished in a short period of time," Gruden said June. "I'm very happy that he's our quarterback. He's improved greatly. He's got great command of the offense and he's getting better. He's a young football player, so that's where we are. We've got him here for another year. I'm going to coach the heck out of him."
Take a look at the top photos of Kirk Cousins from the 2016 season.
Regardless of now playing this upcoming season under the franchise tag once again, Cousins said in May that he approaches every season the same.
"Even if it says it's a three or four-year contract, really the only guarantees are this year," Cousins said. "Many of us are playing on one-year deals. I'm not the only one and we're not going to have careers if we don't have a great year this year, so we all don't look much further than this season. …I feel good about the direction we're headed and we'll see where it ends up, but bottom line is I'm in a good place. Now, we just have to go and win a lot of football games."
Cousins and his teammates will return to the field next week when training camp opens up at the Non Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
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.
"My focus is to rest and recover and get my mind in a place where come Week 11, 12, 13, I'm fully energized and ready to go," Cousins said. "I think that's key. I do believe that last year I remember watching film for the Steelers Week 1 and it hit me that we hadn't played a game yet, technically. I felt like I had been going a million miles an hour since the previous end of the playoff game against the Packers. I was almost worn out, if you will, before the season started, because I had pushed so hard to be top of my game in OTA one, and training camp practice one, and preseason game one. So, I learned now after going through it one whole offseason as the starter to pace myself and to build towards Week 1. I think part of that is then during the summer during our five weeks to just take some time away but also to build your body up and do the right thing so you're ready to go Week 1 and you have the energy level."