The Washington Redskins are prepared to use the transition tag on free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the transition tag “seems most likely” for Cousins, who will still talk with the Redskins about a long-term deal before Tuesday’s tag deadline.
The transition tag is similar to the exclusive franchise tag, but the one-year tender is worth less, and other teams would still get the opportunity to negotiate with Cousins. The Redskins would be afforded the first right to match any deal he finds on the open market, but would receive no compensation should he be allowed to sign elsewhere.
The franchise tag for quarterbacks is worth $19.9 million in 2016. The transition tag is set at $17.7 million.
Cousins had a breakout season in 2015, throwing for a franchise record 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns. He led the NFL in completion percentage (69.8) and finished fifth in passer rating (101.6). The 27-year-old quarterback was a fourth-round pick of the Redskins back in 2012, the same year the club drafted Robert Griffin III.
Both sides have expressed an interest in working out a multiyear deal to bring Cousins back in Washington. However, finding common ground on a value for the quarterback has been a major roadblock. The transition tag could solve the issue, with Cousins able to learn more about his price around the league on the open market and the Redskins able to match any deal he finds.
As it has been the case all season, the most likely ending to the saga is still Cousins returning to the Redskins in 2016. The transition tag is just another way for Washington to make sure it happens.