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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports


Rapoport: Kirk Cousins won’t be traded to the 49ers

Feb 28, 2017 at 12:50 PM


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Ian Rapoport of NFL Media is reporting that Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is not going to be traded to the San Francisco 49ers or anywhere else. On Tuesday, Washington used the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, which will guarantee the quarterback $23.94 million for 2017. That is different from the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would still allow Cousins to seek an offer from another team. However, that team would have needed to compensate Washinton with two first-round selections if it signed Cousins.

The problem with the exclusive tag is that any interested team, like the 49ers, would not be able to determine if it would be able to sign Cousins to a long-term deal because it cannot speak to him or his agent. Obviously, giving up valuable draft picks would be too high a cost if it cannot guarantee that it would be able to work out a long-term contract.

"Really, the Redskins, what they did was answer one of the biggest questions of the 2017 offseason with one move," Rapoport said on NFL Network. "They decided that they're not going to trade him to the San Francisco 49ers. They decided that they're not going to trade him anywhere. He's going to be their quarterback for the next year and that is that."

Rapoport went on to explain that because Cousins has now been tagged twice in his career – both by Washington in back-to-back seasons – he cannot be tagged again because of the cost involved in doing it a third time. He is essentially free of the franchise tag for the remainder of his career.

Rapoport: Cousins not going anywhere, won't be traded to 49ers

Of course, the exclusive tag does mean that Washington could negotiate a trade with other teams and that Cousins is not allowed to speak to anyone except his current club. However, it does not sound like Rapoport believes that will happen. The 49ers were expected to discuss the possibility of a trade for the quarterback at the NFL Scouting Combine, which kicked off this week.

Unless Washington and Cousins agree on a long-term contract, the quarterback will be able to test free agency in 2018, when a team like the 49ers would be able to sign him without the need to give up draft picks as compensation. Of course, they will have to compete with any other quarterback-needy team that shows interest in Cousins.

ESPN has reported that Cousins would be open to signing a long-term deal with San Francisco. "The source told ESPN that Cousins would not sign a long-term deal if he were traded anywhere else -- right now," wrote John Keim of ESPN. "But much of that is based on a desire to be in San Francisco and a lack of familiarity with other teams. Cousins is a stickler for routine and familiarity."

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Washington when Cousins was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The quarterback had the best season of his career in 2016, 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.

In 2016, Cousins earned the eighth-highest overall grade among NFL quarterbacks from advanced statistics site Pro Football Focus.

(h/t to Zain Naqvi for the find)

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