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Redskins could use transition tag on Kirk Cousins

The Redskins are taking the next step in their negotiations with Kirk Cousins.

Explaining the tag



» The exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position, or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater. The player's team has all negotiating rights to the player.

» The non-exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer determined through a more complicated process. First, the average of the top-five salaries at the position over the last five years is calculated. Next, the percentage against the cap for each of those five seasons is averaged out and applied toward the current season cap to determine the offer amount. The player can negotiate with other teams. The player's current team has the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.

» The transition tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position and is calculated using the same formula as the non-exclusive franchise tag number. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may receive from another team. The transition tag can only be used if the franchise tag is not used by a team in that year. Transition tags can be rescinded, but teams that rescind a transition tag cannot use it again until next season.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Redskins are considering the use of the transition tag on the quarterback, according to sources informed of their thinking.

Additionally, Rapoport added the Redskins are "keeping all options open" on the matter. The team has not ruled out tagging and trading Cousins, according to sources.

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the development.

The transition tag is a one-year tender offer that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may receive from another team.

If the Redskins used their exclusive franchise tag, it would act as a one-year tender offer for no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position, or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater.

Most crucially, the exclusive franchise tag gives the team all negotiating rights to the player. The deadline for applying the tag is March 1.

Will the Redskins actually consider parting ways with Cousins? It appears to be at least in the realm of possibility, but still consider it a surprise if Washington willfully separates from a potential franchise quarterback just entering his prime.

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