Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports



Peter King of TheMMQB joined "Good Morning Football" on NFL Network Monday morning and discussed the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Washington Redskins have until 1 p.m. PST to come to an agreement on a long-term deal with the quarterback. If they do not, the two parties will not be able to reopen negotiations until after the completion of the 2017 season.

In February, Washington used the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, which guarantees the quarterback $23.94 million in 2017 but places 2018 into question. Washington will have an opportunity to try to re-sign Cousins but also risks losing him to free agency.

King believes that Washington is still looking for Cousins to prove himself worthy of such a large contract. The Oakland Raiders recently set the market for franchise quarterbacks when they signed Derek Carr to a new five-year contract worth up to $125 million.

"Kirk Cousins went to Michigan State – 'Oh well, I've got to prove it there,'" explained King. "He was not the big star when he went to college. Then, in the NFL, he gets picked 100 picks after Robert Griffin III so he has to prove it again. And this has been his whole life as a quarterback. 'I've got to prove it. I've got to prove it.' So this is not really that strange to him.

"Now, having said all that, the big question right now is, 'WWFD?' What will the 49ers do? And the big question there is I believe the 49ers would love to sign Kirk Cousins in 2018. If that's the case and if they don't franchise him in 2018, it's an easy decision. But what happens if they do franchise him again and the 49ers say, 'Well, that's alright. It's worth it to us to go after him and get him.' Would they be willing to pay the great freight to get him under the franchise tag?

"These are the kind of questions but I don't expect anything to happen by 4 o'clock (1 p.m. PST) today."

King is correct that Washington could use the franchise tag on Cousins for an unprecedented third straight year – but at an excessive cost. Cousins earned nearly $20 million playing under the franchise tag in 2016. The cost to use the franchise tag on Cousins in 2018 will have a cost of nearly $35.4 million. Washington could use the transition tag on the quarterback at a reduced cost starting at $28.7 million but would risk losing Cousins to a higher bidder if it does not match a competing offer. That would be a three-year cost of anywhere between $72 million and $79.3 million.

That is a lot of money for a quarterback it could have signed for much cheaper if it truly believed he was a crucial part of Washington's future.

Right now, the 49ers have four quarterbacks on the roster with Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, and rookie C.J. Beathard being the most likely to make the 53-man roster. The team also signed rookie Nick Mullens, who will have to compete for a spot, as an undrafted free agent.

If the 49ers cannot acquire Cousins or another quarterback and do not believe that one of the signal callers on the roster is a long-term solution, the team still has the 2018 NFL Draft. The quarterback class in that draft is expected to be the strongest in recent years.

The situation for the 49ers might become clearer by Monday's deadline, but there will still be a lot of questions leading into the 2018 offseason.