Kirk Cousins is no stranger to the franchise tag, and he knows better than most how a tag can lead to a lucrative payday down the road for a quarterback.
Cousins succeeded in parlaying back-to-back tags with the Washington Redskins into an at-the-time record-setting $84 million fully guaranteed deal with the Vikings in 2018. And with another NFC quarterback in Dak Prescott facing his own franchise tag and long-term contract negotiation, Cousins wasn't shy about sharing advice from his own experience.
"Anybody who I run into who's been franchise tagged, we have one on our team this year in Anthony Harris, I believe the franchise tag can be your friend," Cousins said on ESPN this week, per Pro Football Talk. "I don't think it's something to be disappointed with. I think it enables you to be well compensated, and deservedly so, for the upcoming season. Then, I always say the cream will rise to the top. If you're good enough, the cream's going to rise to the top, and you're going to get compensated the way you want to. Sometimes it doesn't happen as quickly as you would like, but if you deserve it, and you've earned it, it's going to happen. So you've just got to stay the course and stay patient. Certainly in my journey, it all worked out. I wouldn't go back and change a thing.
"So my message to Dak, when I saw him midseason last year, was, 'Hey, whatever happens, don't be afraid of the tag. It can be your friend, and you can use it to your advantage.'"
Prescott currently faces a July 15 deadline to reach a multiyear contract with the Cowboys, or he'll play out the 2020 season on a tag figure valued at more than $31 million -- a hefty sum albeit minus long-term security.
So as contract talks potentially extend into June and July, maybe Dak will heed the advice of a quarterback who has seen first-hand what can happen if you play out a franchise tag.