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Report: Redskins prepared to franchise Kirk Cousins again in 2017

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How much is Kirk Cousins worth?

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported on Thursday that the Washington Redskins are planning on using the franchise tag on QB Kirk Cousins for the second straight year if they can’t reach a long-term deal.

“CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that if the Redskins can't reach a long-term deal with Cousins after the season, then the team plans to hit him with the franchise tag for a second consecutive year.

Although being given the one-year franchise tag isn't ideal for any player, Cousins probably wouldn't mind all that much because a second franchise tag comes with a big raise. If the Redskins quarterback gets tagged again, he'll get a 120 percent raise on his contract, which means he'd make roughly $23.94 million for the 2017 season.

Cousins will only get that number if he gets tagged. It's also possible that the two sides will work out a long-term deal. As La Canfora pointed out, if the Redskins do tag Cousins again, that basically means they gave him a two-year, $44 million deal for 2016 and 2017, which means that would likely be the baseline for where negotiations would begin on a new deal.”

How much will a new Cousins deal be?

“La Canfora also reports that Cousins is going to command at least $23 million a season and quite possibly more like $25 million. The reason the Redskins will have to tag him is because several quarterback-needy teams have told La Canfora that they'll go after Cousins if he's available.

La Canfora adds that executives from five different organizations agreed there was no way the Redskins could afford to let Cousins hit the open market. ‎"They don't have a choice, and they know it," one executive said. "Everyone knows it."“

That falls in line with this projection from spotrac.com.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport is also reporting that Cousins will get his big payday this offseason. The Redskins chose to pay $19.953 million to see Cousins prove he was the franchise QB he looked like at the end of 2015, and now they will have to pay him like one to lock him up for the future.

“NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport spoke with three general managers about the Redskins' QB conundrum this week. All three executives anticipate that Cousins' next contract will be worth more than $20 million annually, placing him in exclusive company with the highest-paid players in the league.

McCloughan fully understood that he would be forced to pay a tax on Cousins' long-term deal if his quarterback surpassed expectations this season. That's exactly how it's playing out, as Cousins is on pace for 5,149 yards while establishing team records for total yards per game (426.4), passing yards per game (314.8) and yards per play (6.5).”

The Redskins will need to balance out Kirk’s importance to the team vs the price tag he will carry and it’s effect on building the team long-term. There will be many heated battles for the Redskins internally and with Cousins’ team after the season ends.

“"You saw a big-time quarterback," one Redskins staffer told The MMQB after Cousins battled a fierce wind in Week 11. "The arm talent is obviously special, looking at the way he was able to throw in those elements."

If McCloughan is reluctant to meet Cousins' exorbitant asking price, he should be prepared to receive pushback from a head coach with an offensive system tailored to his quarterback's strengths.”