is definitely not the starting quarterback in Washington any longer. Now his future is the biggest storyline of the 2018 offseason.
It was settled the moment the team worked out a trade with the Chiefs to bring in Alex Smith. So now Washington has two choices. It can let Cousins hit free agency, or it can use the franchise tag for a third consecutive season to try to get something for him via trade.
The latest Kirk Cousins news and rumors
If Washington decides to tag Cousins yet again, the window to do so is Feb. 20 until March 6. Free agency begins on March 14.
Washington could franchise tag Cousins again
There are three possible outcomes if the team does tag Cousins: Washington finds a trade partner and Cousins plays for his new team under the tag this season. Washington doesn’t work out a trade and ends up with a really expensive backup quarterback for 2018. Or most likely, some team trades for Cousins and works out a long-term deal with him.
Feb. 19: If Washington does tag Cousins again, he’s expected to file a grievance with the NFLPA, according to Kimberley A. Martin of the Washington Post. The foundation would be a lack of good-faith intent to work out a long-term deal with Cousins.
Feb. 4: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Washington will consider using the franchise tag on Cousins.
Teams that could try to sign Cousins
Cousins is the biggest name on the quarterback market this offseason. The 49ers just shelled out $137.5 million over five years to make Jimmy Garoppolo the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history. Cousins should command more than the $27.5 million per year Garoppolo is making on the open market.
Why it makes sense: The Cardinals’ cap situation will make it difficult for them to be serious players in the Cousins sweepstakes. But Carson Palmer retired, and they’ve got no other quarterbacks on the roster.
Why it doesn’t: They only have $22.4 million in available cap space.
Feb. 2: Larry Fitzgerald deserves to have a good quarterback for what’s probably his final season in the NFL, and he said on the Dan Patrick Show that he’s willing to use his golf connections in Phoenix to make it worth Cousins’ while.
Why it makes sense: They have more money to spend than any other quarterback-needy team, with over $110 million in available cap space.
Why it doesn’t: They just drafted DeShone Kizer last year. Plus, Cousins wants to win, and Cleveland’s managed to do that just once in the past two seasons.
Feb. 15: Left tackle Joe Thomas tried to convince Cousins to give Cleveland a chance.
Why it makes sense: The Broncos are the team that’s closest to being just a quarterback away from contention.
Why it doesn’t: Their $25.9 million in available cap space means John Elway would have to make some other moves to be able to pay Cousins.
Feb. 19: This is more of an educated guess than a rumor, but it makes sense. Peter King of The MMQB believes the Broncos are the most logical landing spot for Cousins because he thinks John Elway will be willing to spend big to have some peace of mind at the quarterback position.
For what it’s worth, NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano says that D.J. Swearinger, Cousins’ teammate in Washington, agrees.
Feb. 12: Von Miller is doing his damnedest to lure Cousins to Denver.
Why it makes sense: The Vikings made the NFC Championship last year, which is a solid selling point. They’ve also got $53.2 million to play with this offseason.
Why it doesn’t: They could just re-sign Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum, or Sam Bradford.
Feb. 16: New offensive coordinator John DiFilippo, who faced Cousins twice in each of his two seasons as the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach, sounded pretty enamored with Cousins in a recent appearance on KFAN in Minneapolis.
New York Jets
Why it makes sense: Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty, and Joel Stave are the quarterbacks on the roster. The Jets aren’t likely to see much improvement in 2018 without an upgrade at that position, and they can afford it.
Why it doesn’t: Cousins may not be thrilled about heading to a team that won just five games last season.
Feb. 19: The Jets will be willing to “pay whatever it takes” to get Cousins, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. They might even be willing to fully guarantee Cousins’ contract to sweeten the deal.
Jan. 30: There’s at least one factor working in the Jets’ favor: Kirk Cousins is a big fan of new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. Cousins said as much during an appearance on KFAN during Super Bowl week. Bates would run a system similar to the one Cousins had in Washington, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.