Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Even before the Redskins traded for Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins probably sensed that he wouldn’t be back in Washington next year. Cousins and the Redskins haven’t had any contact since the regular season ended, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Of course, now that the Redskins have acquired Smith and extended him, they’ll be going their separate ways.

The Cousins saga will go down as one of the strangest storylines in Redskins franchise history. Cousins fully emerged from Robert Griffin III’s shadow in 2015 and led the team to the NFC East title. Unwilling to commit to Cousins in the long term, the Redskins used the non-exclusive franchise tag to retain him on a one-year, $20MM deal. In 2016, Cousins placed third in the NFL with 4,917 passing yards, but the Redskins were still unwilling to give him a fair market value contract and tagged him for a second consecutive year. This time around, the Redskins punted rather than offering Cousins a top-tier contract or tagging him for a third time at a cost of $34.47MM.

Finally, Cousins will reach the open market as an unfettered free agent. QB-needy teams flush with cash like the Browns, Jets, and Broncos will be eager to speak with Cousins in March and some club out there make Cousins an even richer man with a four or five-year deal. In time, the Redskins may come to regret their course of action with the 29-year-old.

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This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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