Red­skins tag Cousins again

Chiefs sign Berry, cut Charles; Jets will re­lease Re­vis.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORT -

The Washington Red­skins placed the ex­clu­sive fran­chise tag on start­ing quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins on Tues­day. The move came a day be­fore the dead­line for as­sign­ing tags to play­ers.

Com­ing off a pair of sta­tis­ti­cally im­pres­sive sea­sons and a nearly $20 mil­lion salary un­der the fran­chise tag last sea­son, Cousins is now in line for a one-year salary of about $24 mil­lion.

He also could wind up agree­ing to a long-term con­tract with the Red­skins some­time be­fore July 15 — or they also could de­cide to trade him, per­haps to a QB-starved team such as the San Fran­cisco 49ers, whose new coach is for­mer Washington of­fen­sive coordinator Kyle Shana­han.

By us­ing the ex­clu­sive tag, the Red­skins pre­vent Cousins from sign­ing an of­fer sheet with an­other team. A year ago, they put a non-ex­clu­sive tag on him, and he im­me­di­ately signed it.

From the time he came into the NFL as a fourthround draft pick out of Michi­gan State in 2012 — the same year Washington took Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner Robert Grif­fin III with the No. 2 over­all se­lec­tion — Cousins and the Red­skins have had an up-and-down re­la­tion­ship.

At first, he was a backup be­hind Grif­fin, only get­ting a chance to play when the NFL Of­fen­sive Rookie of the Year would get in­jured. Even­tu­ally, Cousins got a chance to be the full-fledged starter in place of Grif­fin two years ago un­der coach Jay Gru­den.

Still, even af­ter his break­through 2015 sea­son, in­clud­ing an NFC East ti­tle, Cousins was un­able to reach an agree­ment on a long-term deal with Washington.

If the Red­skins end up pay­ing Cousins the roughly $24 mil­lion un­der the tag, that would mean al­lo­cat­ing nearly 15 per­cent of the ex­pected $167 mil­lion salary cap. The team needs ma­jor up­grades on the de­fen­sive side of the ball and could end up los­ing top wide re­ceivers DeSean Jack­son and Pierre Gar­con in free agency.

Last sea­son, Cousins broke his fran­chise record for pass­ing yards, nearly eclips­ing 5,000, and set an­other team mark with more than 400 com­ple­tions, throw­ing for 25 TDs and 12 in­ter­cep­tions with a com­ple­tion per­cent­age of 67. The Red­skins lost four of their last six games to end up 8-7-1 and miss the play­offs.

In 46 reg­u­lar-sea­son NFL games, in­clud­ing 41 starts, Cousins has thrown for 12,113 yards, 72 touch­downs and 42 in­ter­cep­tions.

Chiefs: The team had to re­lease one of the great­est play­ers in fran­chise history so it could re­tain the heart and soul of their de­fense and so­lid­ify the fu­ture of their of­fen­sive line.

The Chiefs parted ways with four-time Pro Bowl run­ning back Ja­maal Charles, clear­ing more than $6 mil­lion in salary-cap space by draw­ing the cur­tain on an un­for­get­table era. And that money was put to quick use as the Chiefs fi­nal­ized a $78 mil­lion, six-year deal with All-Pro safety Eric Berry and signed of­fen­sive line­man Lau­rent Du­ver­nay-Tardif to a $41.25 mil­lion, five-year con­tract ex­ten­sion.

The flurry of ros­ter moves also gives Kansas City flex­i­bil­ity to use the fran­chise tag on de­fen­sive tackle Don­tari Poe. That de­ci­sion must be made by to­day or Poe will be­come a free agent.

Vik­ings: Adrian Peter­son, Min­nesota’s all-time lead­ing rusher, will be an un­re­stricted free agent when the mar­ket opens next week.

The Vik­ings de­clined to ex­er­cise their op­tion for next sea­son on Peter­son’s con­tract. He was to make $18 mil­lion in 2017, what would have been an un­wieldy hit to their salary cap.

Gen­eral man­ager Rick Spiel­man says the team will “con­tinue to have con­ver­sa­tions” with Peter­son’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives about the po­ten­tial of re-sign­ing Peter­son, soon to be 32. He has played 10 sea­sons with the Vik­ings, who drafted him sev­enth over­all out of Ok­la­homa in 2007.

He is com­ing off a menis­cus tear in his right knee that lim­ited him to 72 yards on 37 car­ries over parts of three games.

Peter­son has led the NFL in rush­ing three times and amassed 11,747 rush­ing yards and 102 touch­downs.

Jets: The team told cor­ner­back Dar­relle Re­vis he will be re­leased, end­ing a sec­ond ten­ure marked by a slip in play be­cause of in­juries and age.

Re­vis, 31, was sched­uled to make $15 mil­lion, in­clud­ing a $2 mil­lion ros­ter bonus, this sea­son. The move will make Re­vis a free agent while also clear­ing about $9.3 mil­lion on the salary cap.

He is also fac­ing ag­gra­vated as­sault and other charges al­leg­ing he was in a fight with two men Feb. 12 in Pitts­burgh, but his le­gal is­sues aren’t be­lieved to have played a role in the team’s de­ci­sion.

Browns: The team placed a sec­ond-round free-agent ten­der on run­ning back Isa­iah Crow­ell.The ten­der — worth $2.8 mil­lion — would al­low the Browns to match any con­tract of­fer Crow­ell might get from an­other team. If the Browns de­cided not to match an out­side of­fer, they would re­ceive a sec­ond-round draft pick from Crow­ell’s new team.

AP AND GETTY FILE IM­AGES

The Vik­ings de­clined to pick up run­ning back Adrian Peter­son’s $18 mil­lion op­tion; the Red­skins gave Kirk Cousins (cen­ter) the fran­chise tag for the sec­ond year in a row, and the Chiefs and Eric Berry agreed to a six-year, $78 mil­lion deal.

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