If Washington wasn't going to keep him long-term, they at least want to get something back for him in the short-term. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins are clearly ready to move on from Kirk Cousins after they acquired Alex Smith in a trade, but that does not mean they are going to let the veteran quarterback hit free agency.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Redskins are still considering using the franchise tag on Cousins so they can trade him. Ideally, that would allow them to get back something at least equal to the third-round pick they are reportedly sending to the Kansas City Chiefs as part of the Smith deal.

There would be some major risks if Washington went that route, however. This would be the third straight year the team used the franchise tag on Cousins, making his salary for 2018 a guaranteed $34.5 million. Cousins could make life difficult for the Redskins by refusing to sign the franchise tender until the last second, which would make it tougher to trade him. He could also tell certain teams that are willing to trade for him that he would not sign a long-term extension with them.

Also, if Washington used the franchise tag on Cousins and then pulled it back, they would be giving up the right to a 2019 compensatory draft pick that they would have gotten if he simply left in free agency.

The idea makes sense, but it could clearly backfire in Washington’s face. By using the franchise tag on Cousins in each of the past two seasons, they have significantly weakened their position. Cousins reportedly has an NFC team at the top of his wish list, and the Redskins may prefer to send him to the AFC. They may not have a say in the matter when it comes down to it.

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This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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