The Washington Redskins were concerned the Philadelphia Eagles were going to make a run at Kirk Cousins had they not franchise tagged him last week, according to a report from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.
"Per a league source, Washington was concerned that the Eagles would make a run at Cousins, if Washington either didn’t tag him at all, or if Washington applied only the transition tag."
Florio's report matches up with something NFL insider Ian Rapoport hinted at shortly after the Bradford deal was done. We noted earlier this week that Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman reportedly wanted Kirk Cousins instead of Nick Foles when he was general manager during the 2012 NFL Draft. So there might be some credence to all of this.
Washington may have not wanted to franchise tag Cousins. D.C. didn't beat a team with a winning record all season and for as good as he played during a small stretch of games (sound familiar?), it's only a small sample size. It's also worth noting general manager Scot McCloughan is not the same guy who drafted Cousins.
It was originally reported Washington was considering the seldom-used transition tag on Cousins. That would have allowed the Eagles (and any other NFL team) to sign the 27-year-old passer to an offer sheet. From there, Washington would have either had to match the contract or end up losing him without receiving any compensation in return.
Perhaps the Eagles' interest in Cousins was just meant to force Washington's hand. Now they are stuck with Cousins' $19.9 million cap figure since he signed the team's franchise tag offer. That number can go down if/when the two sides agree to a long-term extension, but in the short-term it means Washington has the least cap space in the NFL at -$6.3 million. That could be a problem for Washington with free agency set to start this week.
Or maybe the Eagles really do like Cousins and tried to pry him away from a rival. Not that Cousins leaving Washington was ever likely, but perhaps Sam Bradford wasn't truly the "Plan A" he was made out to be.
In any case, it's moot now because Cousins is likely staying in Washington for the long-term. But it would have been interesting to see what happened if Washington didn't use the franchise tag on him.