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  • While it will likely take a hard-line stance from the NFLPA to revamp the Collective Bargaining Agreement when it expires in 2021, the players should take a long, hard look at how Kirk Cousins has manipulated the system to put himself in a position to receive an NBA-like contract. Whether that deal occurs before the July 17th deadline is somewhat inconsequential because the Washington Redskins' QB1 has shown the football world how a player can parlay the dreaded franchise tag into a king's ransom. Before I take a deep dive into how Cousins gamed the system, I believe it is important to understand both sides of the deal and why the Redskins were right to hedge their bet on the plucky quarterback when his rookie contract expired at the end of the 2015 season. Despite showing promise as the team's unexpected starting quarterback following Robert Griffin III's implosion, Cheap Jerseys Cousins was a former fourth-round pick with a game that put him squarely into the game manager category. Sure, he completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 4,166 yards in 2015. He also posted a 29:11 touchdown-to-interception ratio and guided the Redskins to the NFC East title. Still, despite all of that, he didn't necessarily look like a quarterback who could put an offense on his back and lift everyone's play. Cousins sported an 11-14 regular-season record through the 2015 campaign, and his team had failed to win a postseason game under his guidance. Thus, at this time last year, the Redskins were wise to value him in the $16 million range when it came to a long-term deal, as a solid starter in the league. Remember, Aaron Rodgers is widely viewed as the current gold standard at the position, and his $22 million average topped the NFL in 2015, according to Spotrac.com. The Redskins reportedly offered Cousins a deal at the time that would've placed him among the likes of Andy Dalton ($16 million) and Alex Smith ($17 million). Considering Cousins' production and performance to that point, I believe it was a reasonable valuation of the young quarterback by the team. He certainly didn't belong in the elite category of QBs earning $20-plus million per year,Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys alongside Super Bowl champs like Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. So, the Redskins were smart to slap the franchise tag ($19.95 million) on him and force him to play on a "prove it" deal that would allow the team to see if he is really a franchise quarterback or a system player who shines in a scheme that masks his deficiencies as a player. In theory, the one-year deal protected the Redskins from overpaying for Cousins' services long term, while allowing the emerging field general to essentially audition for the quarterback-needy teams around the league. Although the team would be forced to pay big bucks to Cousins if he played at a high level -- via a long-term deal or through the reapplication of the franchise tag (compensation is equal to 120 percent of the previous salary -- the risk was well worth the reward at that point. Now, it is easy to suggest that the Redskins should've opened up the coffers one year ago, because Cousins posted another impressive statistical season in 2016. He nearly made it to 5,000 yards passing (4,917) and finished with a 25:12 TD-to-INT ratio as the point man for an offense that ranked third in total yards (403.4 per game) and second in passing yards (297.4). So, now the Redskins Cleveland Indians jerseys should be compelled to break the bank for a quarterback who is seemingly on the rise, right? Not so fast. Despite his individual success and the offense's spectacular production, the Redskins finished the season 8-7-1 and failed to make the playoffs largely due to a disappointing slump down the stretch. The team lost four of its final six games, with Cousins faltering in key bouts against the Cardinals, Panthers and Giants. With a 19-21-1 career record also raising doubts about his ability to help a team play at a championship level, the Redskins were in quite a predicament when trying to determine whether to marry their franchise quarterback or continue dating him without a ring in sight.