The Washington Redskins can technically prevent Kirk Cousins from hitting free agency if they use the franchise tag on him for a third consecutive season, but they do not have as much leverage over the quarterback as you may think.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said Monday that the Redskins tagging Cousins again is “simply not going to happen.” One reason for that is that his guaranteed salary for 2018 would be around $34 million, which is an enormous chunk of the salary cap. Perhaps more importantly, Cousins would not be willing to negotiate a long-term extension with any team if Washington tried to tag and trade him.

In other words, Cousins has all the leverage. Typically, teams can just turn around and say they will keep the player in these types of situations. But now that the Redskins have traded for Alex Smith, that is off the table. They simply can’t pay Cousins $34 million, and they would risk getting stuck with him if he refused to sign the tag or no team wanted to trade for him without a long-term deal in place.