Coming off a breakout 2015 season, in which he led Washington to a playoff appearance as a first-year starter, Cousins was virtually guaranteed to receive either the franchise or transition tag designation.
He and the Redskins will likely discuss a long-term extension in the offseason, but the non-exclusive tag will also allow Cousins to negotiate with other teams.
Should he sign a deal elsewhere, and Washington declines its right to match any offer sheet, the team would receive two first-round picks as compensation.
Such a development is always considered unlikely, but Cousins represents a unique case.
His status as a still-unproven quarterback almost certainly has Washington hesitant to give him a long-term deal. It's thus possible the club would weigh its options were a significant trade package put on the table.