Washington Redskins v Baltimore Ravens
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 29: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins drops back in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/ Getty Images)
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Redskins to use Tag on Kirk Cousins

The Washington Redskins have made their first big move of the NFL offseason, opting to tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to a one-year deal. According to a tweet from ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter, the “only decision left is whether team uses franchise or transition tag on him.”

Despite the differences between the two tags, it seems the ‘Skins are satisfied enough with Cousins’ play to offer him either a big money deal or a long term one.

The transition tag allows the tagging club the right of first refusal to match any offer a player may make with another team. The transition tag lasts for only one year and is projected to earn Cousins a $13-14 million salary in 2016.

The franchise tag carries a heftier price tag – expect to almost hit $20 million this upcoming season for quarterbacks – but cuts out the ability for other franchises to offer Cousins a sweeter deal.

If Washington is looking for value, the transition tag may be the best option. Crucially, the team would have to be confident that no quarterback-hungry team is going to storm into their contract signing to offer Cousins “elite” QB money, and that sounds like a pretty safe bet.

No expected free agent quarterback, be it Cousins, Robert Griffin III, Brock Osweiler or someone else, is worth a contract in the realm of extensions signed by Aaron Rodgers or Joe Flacco. And while Cousins is the strongest of this crop, it’s hard to see teams placing his value much higher than that of the current transition tag anyway.

After one year of solid play since claiming the starting role, many a franchise would be cautiously optimistic to see what their signal caller can do for his encore performance. The Redskins, who have been burned by inconsistent QB play in the past, even more so.

Washington should be able to lock down Cousins for a reasonable one-year rate then ideally sort out a longer deal if he holds steady throughout 2016.

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