Kirk Cousins would “seriously consider” joining the Browns this offseason should the Redskins not sign the quarterback to a long-term deal or use the franchise tag on him for a third straight year, The MMQB’s Albert Breer said on Washington, D.C. radio station 106.7 The Fan (via CBS Sports).
.@AlbertBreer said on @923TheFan: “Kirk Cousins would seriously consider the #Browns” if the opportunity presented itself.
— Kyle Kelly (@KyleKellyCLE) January 10, 2018
The Browns hold rights to the Nos. 1 and 4 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, but even if they use one of those picks on a quarterback, they’d be looking to bring in a veteran at the position as well, according to USA Today Browns reporter Kyle Kelly. In addition to Cousins, Alex Smith is high on Cleveland’s wish list.
Competition for Cousins — and Smith, for that matter — figures to be thick, with the Jaguars, Bills, Cardinals, Broncos and Giants all potentially in the quarterback market when free agency opens in March. While all of those teams are more desirable than the Browns from a football perspective — and let’s be honest, who isn’t? — Cleveland has plenty of money to spend. According to Sportrac, the Browns’ $109 million in projected salary cap space is second in the NFL only to the 49ers.
“I look for a potential Kirk Cousins deal to be around the framework of 3yr/$87M, $60M guaranteed. Just a guess,” Kelley tweeted. “#Browns would still have $81,667,882 in cap space. They would still have the THIRD MOST cap space in the NFL AFTER signing Cousins, only behind #49ers & #Colts…..”
As for the Redskins, designating Cousins with the franchise tag would cost $34.48 million, according to Breer. The team could also use a transition tag on Cousins, a move that doesn’t necessarily keep him off the open market.
Cousins, 29, is ”taking his time now to unplug and consider everything,” Breer writes. “It’s unlikely he’d consider a deal before the start of the league year, which means he’ll either be $35 million richer or a free agent at that point. And if that latter happens, he’d be the rare available quarterback young enough to be a long-term answer for a building team, and tested enough to be a win-now guy for one on the precipice.”