Speaking publicly for the first time since training camp, though, general manager Scot McCloughan made it clear Wednesday that his preference is to sign the impending free agent to a long-term contract.
"Well, [the franchise tag] is an option," McCloughan told reporters at the Senior Bowl. "You'd rather get a long-term deal done, but we have a lot of options we're dealing with right now, and that's one of them."
Cousins will be McCloughan's top priority of the offseason after setting Redskins single-season records for passing yards (4,166) and total touchdowns (34). He also led the league in completion percentage (69.8) while finishing fifth in passer rating (101.6) and eighth in yards per attempt (7.67).
"I saw improvement as the season went on," McCloughan added. "From the standpoint of going forward of course we would like to have him around. The philosophy with me and the organization is we won't talk contract stuff with the media, but I want him to be a part of the Redskins."
Three months later, he's set to cash in with a new contract expected to fall in the range of $17-20 million per season.
He has to like that.