It has been speculated that the San Francisco 49ers might go after Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. On Tuesday, Washington head coach Jay Gruden said that the Redskins anticipate Cousins returning in 2017.

"We totally anticipate Kirk coming back to (Washington)," Gruden said at the Senior Bowl in Alabama. "We're excited about parlaying two very good years as the starting quarterback with a third year and continue to watch him grow."

The statement would seem to indicate that Washington might place the franchise tag on Cousins, guaranteeing the quarterback about $24 million in 2017 and keeping him with Gruden. The franchise tag would likely scare off any interested teams because anyone that might be interested in signing Cousins for more would need to forfeit two first-round draft picks as compensation. However, a team could negotiate a trade for Cousins and give up less if Washington were to agree to the terms.

On Wednesday, Cousins spoke about his future in Washington. "I'd love to build something in Washington, we'll see if the decision-makers let that happen," the quarterback said at the Pro Bowl, via Dave Richard of CBS Sports.

Cousins seems more than willing to return to Washington, but the decision lies with owner Dan Snyder, team president Bruce Allen, and general manager Scot McCloughan. Last year, attempts to negotiate a contract agreement between Washington and Cousins failed and the Redskins placed the franchise tag on the quarterback, keeping him with the team for just under $20 million.

If Washington were not to place the franchise tag on Cousins, he would likely become one of the more sought-after players in free agency. A week ago, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee speculated that Cousins might draw interest from San Francisco. The idea of a pursuit of Cousins gained steam on Sunday when Ian Rapoport of NFL Network also reported that there might be some interest on the part of the 49ers.

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will likely become the new head coach of the 49ers and was in Washington when the team drafted Cousins in 2012. Although, Cousins only started four games for Washington while Shanahan was the offensive coordinator there. Cousins' former offensive coordinator and now head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay, went on WTEM last week and called Cousins "a guy you can absolutely win a championship with."

In 2016, Cousins had the best season of his career, completing 67-percent of his passes for 4,917 yards and throwing 25 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions. In 2015, Cousins threw 29 touchdowns while completing nearly 70-percent of his passes.