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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Snyder might rather pay Kirk Cousins than watch him join 49ers

Jul 5, 2017 at 8:01 AM--

In June, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed an NFL-record five-year, $125 million contract. Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins has until July 17th to beat that number or he could watch his franchise's star quarterback, Kirk Cousins, join his former offensive coordinator-turned-head coach, Kyle Shanahan, with the San Francisco 49ers.

There are many in the media who have reservations about a deal actually getting done prior to the deadline. A failure to do so would likely make Kirk Cousins a free agent in 2018.

Washington has used the franchise tag on Cousins in back-to-back years, making a third time far too expensive for the team. Washington could still apply the transition tag in 2018 at the cost of nearly $29 million. They would then, at least, have the ability match any competing offer that Cousins receives from other clubs.

There was a report by Kevin Jones of KNBR that Snyder is still holding a grudge from when Kyle Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, were in Washington and that he might rather pay Cousins than do the 49ers head coach any favors.

Jones also reported on Monday that Snyder might fear any backlash from fans should Washington let Cousins go free, unite with Shanahan, and watch the pair have success in San Francisco.

Now, there has been reported interest between Shanahan and Cousins. Shanahan is very fond of his former quarterback and even compared his new quarterback, third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard out of Iowa, to Cousins immediately after the team selected him in April.

"He processes the game so well," Shanahan told Peter King of TheMMQB in the 49ers draft war room. "Tough as s---. Got a chance. He reminds me a lot of Kirk Cousins."

Cousins has also expressed his fondness for Shanahan.

"I've always been a big fan of Kyle's," Cousins said in February prior to the Super Bowl. "I've always spoken very highly of him since the day I was picked and he called me right after the draft and just preached belief in me and encouragement, has coached me hard in all my years playing for him."

In March, there was even a report by Eric Galko of the Sporting News and Optimum Scouting that, according to a source close to Kirk Cousins, the Washington quarterback has said, "I'm going to be a 49er."

The deadline quickly approaches for Washington. If the two parties cannot get a long-term deal done, Cousins will play under the one-year $24 million contract from the franchise tag. After that, he would be free to go anywhere of his choosing.

What would it take for Washington to retain Cousins beyond 2017? Mike Jones of The Washington Post was recently asked that exact question. Jones wrote the following:

"The Redskins have to be prepared to pay Cousins around $58 million in guaranteed money at signing because that's equal to this year and next year's combined franchise tag figures (roughly $24 million and roughly $34 million), and around $75 million to $80 million in total guaranteed money over the life of the contract. It'd probably have to have an average annual salary of between $25 million and $27 million."

Of course, those estimates depend on Cousins wanting to remain in Washington beyond the upcoming season.

Cousins 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, he threw 29 touchdowns while completing nearly 70-percent of his passes. Cousins earned the eighth-highest overall grade among NFL quarterbacks last season from advanced statistics site Pro Football Focus.

Should Washington and Cousins reach a long-term deal, there is always the 2018 NFL Draft for the 49ers. It is expected to possess a quarterback class that is viewed as far superior to that of the 2017 class. If a quarterback who is currently on the roster does not emerge as a potential future franchise player, then Shanahan and Lynch may target one of the numerous available prospects from a 2018 class that will likely include players like Josh Allen of Wyoming, Sam Darnold of USC, and Josh Rosen of UCLA.

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