SPORTS INSIDER WEEKLY – Kirk Cousins signs franchise tag; Wizards win five straight

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Ceci Ferrara
March 13, 2017
Sports Writer
Sports Insider Weekly

On Friday, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins signed the contract for the exclusive franchise tag the team had placed on him earlier this month.

The news comes amid persisting rumors that Cousins does not want to stay in Washington. Prior to the signing, reports had surfaced that the quarterback had requested a trade, only to be told not to expect one by team owner Dan Snyder.

Cousins’ desire to leave D.C. comes after his failed campaign to secure a long-term deal with the team. Perhaps he feels slighted for not being offered one; last year he broke his own franchise record for passing yards, ending the season with 4,917 and is ranked third in the league. He also set single season team records in attempts (606) and completions (406) and the third highest completion percentage (67%) in team history.

But perhaps the disappointing 8-7-1 finish and a loss (sealed by Cousins’ late interception) in the final game of the season — which would have sent the Redskins to the playoffs — eclipsed those personal records for Snyder. The Washington quarterback made almost $20 million last season under a tag and is guaranteed nearly $24 million under the new one.

If Cousins were to leave, his preferred landing spot would be San Francisco, who is rebuilding under new coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers coach and Cousins have history:  Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Redskins under his father, Mike Shanahan from 2010-13.

While the Redskins’ starting QB may not be thrilled with his current situation, his previous comments during Super Bowl Week imply he is ready to make the best of any situation.

“I want to be where I’m wanted, and if they tag me, that tells you that you’re wanted,” Cousins told reporters. “They are not going to tag you or commit to you if they don’t want you. So if they tag me, then that’s great and it means they want me back. Whether I sign a five-year deal or a one-year franchise tag, I’m going to feel like I’m on a one-year deal every year and have to prove myself week in and week out. If they tag me, great.  It looks like I’m wanted. If they don’t, then that sends a strong message too and let’s go look at our options.”

The Redskins have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with Cousins. They could also trade him, or most likely, have him play under the tag as they did last season.

Wizards

The Washington Wizards are on a roll.  If the Wizards were ever in a slump, it was short-lived. After starting the second half of the season with a few losses, including their first back-to-back losses since the beginning of the year, they have been almost perfect, winning seven of their last eight games, including the last five.

Four of the last five came on the road; the last two coming in overtime. After a 130-122 victory over the Sacramento Kings (25-40), they repeated the feat on Saturday night in Portland, edging the Trail Blazers by one controversial point.

Washington erased a 21-point halftime deficit, forcing their second consecutive overtime. Portland had pulled ahead when Markieff Morris hit the go-ahead jumper with 0.4 seconds left. The Trail Blazers pleaded with officials that Morris had stepped out of bounds ahead of his shot, but the play wasn’t reviewable.

Morris’ shot gave the Wizards a 125-124 victory and their fifth straight win.

“It was almost like we won the championship game,” Bradley Beal, who finished with 26 points, said. “Guys were running around the locker room, beating on the lockers and throwing water around. It was crazy. It was electrifying; we were excited, especially for a game like that when you claw and fight.”

The Wizards finish their road trip against the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night.

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