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NFL Notebook: Redskins' Cousins becomes first QB to play with franchise tag for two straight years

Associated Press Published: July 18, 2017 4:00 AM
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The deadline passed Monday for Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins to sign a long-term deal, meaning the quarterback will play a second consecutive season on the franchise tag.

The team confirmed no agreement by the 4 p.m. EDT Monday deadline. Cousins will make $23.94 million on the franchise tag in 2017 after $19.95 million last year.

Cousins is the first quarterback in NFL history to play two years in a row on the franchise tag. Team president Bruce Allen said in a prepared statement that the Redskins' goal was to sign Cousins to a long-term contract and offered him $53 million guaranteed or $72 million for injury.

"Despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk's agent this year," Allen said. "Kirk has made it clear that he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis."

Cousins' agent, Mike McCartney, declined an interview request made before Allen's statement was issued. Allen said the team's offer was made May 2 and that he met with Cousins face to face over the weekend.

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The 28-year-old Michigan State product is going into his third full season as Washington's starter. Cousins set franchise records with 4,166 and 4,917 yards the past two seasons but has yet to win a playoff game.

"I think Kirk has proved that he's in the top 15 quarterbacks," recently promoted senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said last month. "Wherever you want to put him it all depends on who's looking at him in this league for what he's done in this league. I know a lot of people say he's got to win this one, he's got to win that one, but I think Kirk has proved that he can play in this league."

Cousins and executives called negotiations positive, and they may go through this again next spring. If Washington uses the franchise tag again for 2018, Cousins would get a 44 percent raise to $34.47 million, or they could use the transition tag on him at a cost of $28.78 million.

The transition tag would allow the Redskins to match any offer, but would not give them any compensation if he left. Cousins has no shortage of admirers around the league, most notably former Washington offensive coordinators Kyle Shanahan, now head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and Sean McVay, now coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

But for at least this season, Cousins remains with the Redskins.

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"We both share high hopes for this season," Allen said. "And we remain hopeful that a long-term contract will be signed in the future."

Steelers' Bell to play on one-year tender

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers and star running back Le'Veon Bell failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract, meaning Bell will play on a one-year tender this season.

Pittsburgh placed the franchise tag on Bell in March and had until Monday afternoon to work out a new deal. Bell instead will make $12.1 million this season, the average of the five highest-paid running backs in the league.

Bell could become an unrestricted free agent next spring or the Steelers could place the franchise tag on him a second time. General manager Kevin Colbert says the team will "resume its efforts" to re-sign Bell next offseason.

The 25-year-old Bell ran for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns and caught another 75 passes in 12 games for Pittsburgh in 2016.

Panthers fire GM

CHARLOTTE, N.C -- The Carolina Panthers have fired general manager have fired general manager Dave Gettleman less than two weeks before the opening of training camp.

Team owner Jerry Richardson said Monday in a statement he made the decision after a long evaluation of the team's football operations. Richardson also acknowledged the timing is not ideal as the Panthers are scheduled to report to camp on July 26.

Gettleman had been Carolina's general manager since 2013. The Panthers were 6-10 last season a year after reaching Super Bowl 50, where they lost to Denver. Carolina had reached the postseason in Gettleman's first three years at the helm.

Gettleman is the second NFL GM to be fired in less than a month. Kansas City fired John Dorsey on June 23.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL


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