Cousins is now scheduled to make $23.9 million in 2017 under the franchise tag, per Spotrac, but could then hit free agency after the season. However, if the deadline does, in fact, pass without a signed deal and he plays the upcoming season under the franchise tag, I fully expect for Cousins to test the market.More news: White Sox deal starter Quintana to Cubs
Washington President Bruce Allen has said repeatedly that the team wants Cousins in the Burgundy and Gold for the foreseeable future.
The deadline for teams to negotiate a long-term extension with a franchise-tagged player is Monday. It could roll over ita unspent room into next season, giving it more than enough ammunition to lure Cousins in free agency. Washington will then have to watch and see if Cousins can go out and produce another strong statistical season and perhaps even compete for a playoff spot.More news: Krauthammer: Trump Jr.'s 'Bungled Collusion Is Still Collusion'
Yes, it is very possible that Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have had their eyes on Cousins from the moment they signed their dual six-year deals to run the 49ers, and the major theoretical impediment to that plan was a potential long-term deal between Cousins and Washington this offseason.
At this point, it's really up in the air in terms of how Cousins' salary will look, but regardless, it's going to result in the quarterback earning a whole lot money for the 2018 season. If they can not, the negotiation window doesn't open again until after the coming season.More news: McConnell defers action on health care until after McCain's surgery
Schefter acknowledges that the team could try a last-minute Hail Mary to close the gap on a long-term deal, but it's likely that D.C. has at least nine more months of "will he or won't he" speculation on Cousins' contract. Shanahan has been credited for grooming Kirk Cousins into an All-Pro caliber quarterback. The clock is ticking for that negotiation, and if it expires without a new deal, Cousins and the 49ers will be the next ones on the clock for 2018.
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