Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports



Brian Hoyer is the San Francisco 49ers' presumptive starter as the 2017 season quickly approaches. That may not be the case in 2018. A crucial deadline takes place on Monday at 1 p.m. PST. That's the deadline the Washington Redskins have to sign their starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins, to a long-term deal. Failing to do so would get the quarterback closer to becoming a free agent in 2018.

Cousins and Kyle Shanahan have been linked together since Shanahan was rumored to become the next head coach of the 49ers. He was officially hired following Super Bowl LI.

The pair spent two seasons (2012-2013) together while Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for Washington and have remained fans of each other ever since. It was reported that the 49ers might attempt to trade for Cousins this year but that scenario never materialized. With six-year contracts being given to both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, the 49ers could afford to wait until Cousins became a free agent and not be forced to give up valuable draft picks as compensation.

According to a report from ESPN, Cousins and Washington are unlikely to reach a multi-year deal by Monday's deadline. If they do not, the two parties cannot reopen negotiations until after the 2017 season.


If no long-term deal is struck, Washington could use the franchise tag for an unprecedented third year, but at the cost of nearly $35.4 million. It is unlikely that Washington would want to spend that kind of money in 2018. They could also use the transition tag at a starting cost of just over $28.7 million. That would allow Washington to match any competing offer. However, the 49ers are expected to once again be among the teams with the most available salary cap space next year. According to the NFLPA, the 49ers currently have nearly $67 million in cap space.

In February, Washington placed the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, which prevented any interested NFL team from negotiating with the player himself. It was the second straight season that Washington used the franchise tag on Cousins.

Playing under the one-year franchise tag deal will earn Cousins $23.94 million in 2017. He can expect to make more in 2018 if he hits free agency. The value for franchise quarterbacks went up this offseason when the Oakland Raiders gave Derek Carr a new five-year contract worth up to $125 million. Any team looking to acquire Cousins next offseason will be expected to eclipse that mark and make the quarterback the highest paid player in the league.

Meanwhile, the 49ers kick off training camp on July 27 with quarterbacks Hoyer, Matt Barkley, C.J. Beathard, and Nick Mullens on the roster.