Those expecting a new long-term deal between the Washington Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins might have to delay the celebration.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the two sides were “nowhere close to a new deal” following the Super Bowl, and it’s becoming a growing possibility that the Redskins will need to use the franchise tag to keep Cousins from the open market.
Teams are allowed to start using the tag on Tuesday, Feb. 16. If no progress is made on Cousins’ long-term deal, Washington will have until Tuesday, March 1 to apply the tag and restart the process on keeping him in Washington.
Cousins, 27, started all 16 games for the Redskins in 2015, throwing for 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He led the NFL in completion percentage at 69.8 and finished fifth in both passer rating (101.6) and 300-yard passing games (seven).
The Redskins won nine games and hosted a playoff game as the NFC East champions.
Team president Bruce Allen didn’t seem concerned about the negotiations.
“We feel good,” Allen said, via CSN Mid-Atlantic. “Kirk wants to be a Washington Redskin, and we want Kirk to be a Washington Redskin. It will work itself out.”
The Redskins prefer a long-term deal over using the franchise tag, which will cost almost $20 million. But keeping Cousins is the primary goal, and the tag would give Washington until the middle of July to extend him with a new deal. In a worst case scenario, Cousins would stay with the Redskins and play 2016 on the franchise tag’s fully guaranteed, one-year tender.
Regardless, Cousins will be the quarterback in Washington next season. A new deal might not be on the horizon, but the Redskins still have the tools to make sure he doesn’t get away.