I recently submitted a first-author paper to a top-tier scientific journal (A). The editor responded that the paper would not be reviewed in that specific journal (A), but that it could be transferred to (and guaranteed reviewed by) a middle-tier journal (B) under the same publishing family.
Searching online, I believe this process is called (or similar to) "cascade peer reviewing". The benefits would be that I would not need to entirely resubmit and would be guaranteed peer review.
Despite these benefits, I prefer to submit the paper to another top-tier journal (C) in the same publishing family. I tentatively plan to transparently ask the editor if we can defer the offer, submit the paper to journal C, and if the paper is rejected from journal C, then reconsider the offer to transfer (or perhaps entirely resubmit) to journal B. Would this question be lacking in respect and/or grace?
I plan on asking my coauthors if we should ask the editor directly about this detail on their policy. However, before even asking my coauthors, I wanted to check with anyone's experience with this topic here. If this idea of even asking is considered inappropriate, then I would probably avoid asking altogether.