Kirk Cousins will play next season on the franchise tag after the quarterback and the Washington Redskins were unable to agree on a long-term contract.
The team confirmed it did not reach a deal with Cousins before Friday's 4 p.m. deadline for franchise players to sign new contracts.
Cousins will earn $19.95 million in 2016. He'll be the first quarterback to play a season on the franchise tag since Drew Brees with the San Diego Chargers in 2005.
The 27-year-old Cousins started all 16 regular-season games for the Redskins last season, throwing for 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns with 11 interceptions last season. In 30 career NFL games, the 2012 fourth-round pick has thrown 47 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
Cousins and the Redskins not agreeing long term was not surprising given that he has only been an NFL starter for one full season after usurping Robert Griffin III. Griffin was released this offseason and signed by the Cleveland Browns.
The Redskins are unquestionably Cousins' team next season with backup Colt McCoy and sixth-round pick Nate Sudfeld behind him on the depth chart. General manager Scot McCloughan said he wanted Cousins around for a long time but didn't want to “force it.”
“He's our leader on offense, he's our quarterback,” McCloughan said in May. “He won the (NFC) East last year and that's pretty cool because that's what we need here. We need those types of guys, and those are the kinds of guys I'm trying to draft, but also, we can't go crazy because it's about 53, it's not about one.”
Cousins said multiple times during the offseason that he wasn't worried about negotiations. At minicamp last month, the Michigan State product said if the deadline came and went, “Let's just go play football and we'll see you on the other side.”
Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh doesn't think Cousins will be affected by the contract situation.
“I coach, and I want him to play well and that's what he wants,” Cavanaugh said. “He just wants to play football and he figures the rest of it will take care of itself, and that's how I look at it.”