Some may not realize this, especially in a day and age where teams agree to deals verbally long before they're official and fans find out about them on social media, but the 2018 National Football League free agency period won't be underway for a little while longer.
Except the Redskins, who clearly are ready to move on from Cousins as evidenced by a. their refusal to give him a long-term deal commensurate with his talents, and b. the decision to trade for Smith, may not be interested in a clean break.
With Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith traded to the Redskins and Cousins set to become a free agent in March, the Browns will explore the possibility of signing him, and every other available veteran. Washington would not be able to trade Cousins until he signs the franchise tag if the team does take this approach, which means Cousins may refuse to sign unless he agrees to go where he could potentially get dealt.
"It was a surprise", he admitted. "I was actually working out at my hotel room here in Minneapolis and when I finished the workout went over to my phone and saw the news". We'll see if that plays out, and if it does, it's a unique opportunity that I look forward to. Placing the tag on Cousins would prohibit him from becoming a true free agent, removing his ability to choose who he plays for next. "I guess there are still some dates to check off, but it should be an exciting process". If they end up doing so, the first day to franchise players is February 20th.
But I also think Cousins' upside as a passer is capped.
"The team's gotta do what's best for them", Cousins told TMZ Sports on Thursday at the EA Sports Madden Bowl.
Cousins told USA Today it would be hard to move on from playing with teammates, singling out running back Chris Thompson, among others.
That's why it makes sense for the Redskins to at least explore trading Cousins. The possibility of having to trade just to get him doesn't make him any more desirable. But if Cousins is valuing the chance to win as much as money, we have some clarity on what teams he'd prefer to sign with this summer.