Kirk Cousins’ value will now be set by the tag


In four years with Washington, quarterback Robert Griffin III made a total of $21.1 million. In 2016, quarterback Kirk Cousins will make $19.95 million.

Cousins, the recipient of the team’s non-exclusive franchise tag, will receive that full salary, guaranteed, simply by accepting the tender.

Like all players, Cousins would prefer a long-term deal. But he now has the leverage to do a long-term deal based on making nearly $20 million in the first year — and nearly $24 million under the franchise tag in year two.

For that reason, Cousins should reject any offer that averages $15 million or less per year. Indeed, he should turn up his nose at an offer worth $17 or $18 million per year, unless he gets at least two years, if not three, fully guaranteed.

By betting on himself, as he necessarily did in 2015, Cousins definitely will make $19.95 million in 2016. Unless the wheels entirely come off his game, Cousins will set himself up for even more in 2017, when a second franchise tag will cost Washington $23.94 million.

There’s a chance they won’t tag him next year, exposing Cousins to the open market. Even then, he’ll already have nearly $20 million in the bank (minus taxes and agent fees, of course).

As one league source explained it, Washington G.M. Scot McCloughan is confident he can find a replacement for any player on the roster. And maybe McCloughan will spend the rest of the offseason looking for someone who could replace Cousins in 2017. Or maybe, before July 15, Washington will realize that Cousins is the answer, signing him to a deal that will seem unreasonably high, but only because the top of the quarterback market hasn’t changed in three years, even as the salary cap has gone up by more than 25 percent.

Regardless of whether a long-term deal will be finalized before the deadline, Cousins should sign the tag ASAP, before Washington decides to spend a lot less on another quarterback whose skills may be comparable to Cousins.

28 responses to “Kirk Cousins’ value will now be set by the tag

  1. Imagine how much they would pay him if he had a single win in 4 years over a team with a winning record?! LMAO!!

    Let that sink in…$19.5M for a guy that hasn’t lodged a single win over a team with a .500 record in 4 years… SMH!

    Kirk Cousins has never beaten a team with a winning record and I doubt he ever will.

  2. Or maybe Cousins will play not as well in 2016 and he’ll wish he had a long term deal worth $15M a year…

  3. I’d happily take the 20mil. If I was him I’d be running for a pen.
    He’ll make more in one season than most people will make in an entire lifetime.

  4. Did not realize RGIII had made that much; how much of that was guaranteed at signing (with the rookie salary scale in place)? I guess this is a better system than having the Sam Bradford’s (if he could have stayed healthy he might have earned his rookie deal) and JaMarcus Russell’s (uh, no) have a huge signing bonus right after the draft.

  5. It is in Cousin’s interests to lock up a deal that averages $18-19 million a year. Even though it is lower than the two year average of being tagged twice, it is far more than he gets if he repeats the struggles on the road and with turnovers. Locking up the security is a better idea than rolling the dice on the division being as bad as it was last season.

  6. By betting on himself, as he necessarily did in 2015 — He didn’t bet on himself, he was still playing under his rookie deal and was never offered a longer term deal.

    If he’s smart he’ll take a Brady-ish deal $60M over 4 years, $30M guaranteed signing bonus ~15M per year with a chance to cash in at 31 when the salary cap has the full impact of the TV deals.

  7. Incredibly Kirk showed enough to be worth the $20 million tag next year and I don’t blame the Skins for wanting to see what he does next season. The jury is still out, you can look competent over a short stretch and still turn out to be a scrub.

    Washington may be able to interest Cousins in a 2 year, 39 million deal with a guaranteed 2nd year salary. If he comes back to earth next year he may never get 19.5 million for the rest of his career let alone for the 2017 season.

  8. It’s probably much more likely that the Redskins have a terrible season and Cousins get an offer below $15M. Should’ve taken a long term deal worth $15M per rather than set himself up for failure and decreasing value. Nothing against the Redskins but the Cowboys will have Romo back and Eagles moved on from Chip Kelly and whatever that garbage was he put on the field last year and you can never count out the Giants. Only one team wins a division each year and the odds are against a team repeating especially in the crap shoot that the NFC East is every year. Should’ve taken your money for winning the division Kirk.

  9. While I am indifferent on Washington, they have this habit of off-season moves making them end up with practically comical consequences… whethers it was Haynesworth or the RG3 trade. I can’t help but think this will end up the same way, becuase… thats just how things go in Washington, but I wouldn’t mind to see Washington find thier QB, his teammates like him, Washington likes him, so I would be happy for them…

    It’s just that they paying Elite money for a QB that hasn’t won double digits game in a season… seems like one of those high risk manuevers you HOPE pays off such as the RG3 trade.

  10. This deal makes sense for the Redskins. He hasn’t beat a winning team yet. Why sign him to more than a one year deal?

    20 mil for one year? Big deal. They still have plenty of cash left for free agents and draft picks.

    Florio is actually right here. If you Kirk-haters are right, than Scot will simply find a replacement QB for 2017. How are the Redskins playing it dumb here?

  11. How did he bet on himself? He was already under contract. He wasn’t coming back from injury on a prove-it deal. He played the last year of his contract. Not many backup QBs (since he was a backup last off-season) hold out in the past year of their deals. Did I miss something?

  12. newsletterczar says:
    Mar 1, 2016 3:44 PM

    Did not realize RGIII had made that much; how much of that was guaranteed at signing (with the rookie salary scale in place)? I guess this is a better system than having the Sam Bradford’s (if he could have stayed healthy he might have earned his rookie deal) and JaMarcus Russell’s (uh, no) have a huge signing bonus right after the draft.

    100% guaranteed. The first 20 picks or so are 100% guaranteed. Manziel was picked 22 and 93% of his contract was guaranteed.

  13. I’m sorry but how exactly are the Redskins like the Browns? The Redskins have a real GM, a real NFL quality NFL QB and the Browns don’t. BTW Thanks for giving us Ernest Byner too.

  14. I kept hearing about how Kirk Cousins was doing so well in the latter part of the season but didn’t catch a Redskins game until the playoffs. Granted its a sample size of one game but the qb that I saw that day isn’t worth $1.9 million much less $19 million. This is like the Vikings all over again, a short span of success in a few regular season games does not necessarily project into a true franchise qB.

  15. @antiky

    I think its a reference to not signing an extension during the season.. I honestly don’t know if Washington ever tried to sign him to one, but if they did I am sure it was on much team friendlier terms, and not 20Mil a season.

    Then of course there is also the possibility of him having a Dud of a season and Washington just feeling the should kick him to the curb.

  16. Cousins will only make $2 million less than Aaron Rodgers. Let that sink in.

  17. Overall, you have to like “Our Capitol’s Team” compared to where they’ve been in past years. No Coach controversy, no QB controversy, no overpaid players taking naps during plays. Go Redskins!

  18. Not much they could do here. Sure they overpaid, but there’s no one else out there, and with a real GM in place, they’re not going to squander 3 first round picks again in order to trade up.

  19. Let him play out his franchise year. If he sucks then we’ll know and the Skins will know not to throw bigger money at him. If he’s good, then throw around a big contract or franchise him again. More of a test year in my opinion.

  20. To all who are saying this is a bad move…What are your suggestions? This is a table of idiots who do nothing but point out that it’s a bad move but never offer a suggestion of what the Skins’ alternatives were. There is rarely a solution spewed by haters. The reason haters are haters is because they don’t offer solutions to problems. They merely sit by, whine and moan, act like a bunch of know-it-alls without ever dipping their toes in the pond. It’s easy, they don’t have to put their credibility to the test (they think they actually have credibility but in reality they have none) and it’s lazy because they don’t have to think. It’s easy to tear down but to actually create something and put together a well thought out idea, now that’s something and something that I’m guessing several of the people on here have never done. But they can tell the hell out of how Cousins is not worth it. How close his salary for next year is to Aaron Rodgers. How he turns the ball over. How this is the “typical” Skins move. How in a team game with a team that has pretty much stunk the last 3 years, he hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record. Mind you that they played 3 last year – all on the road (NYJ, NE and CAR who were a combined 19-1 when the Skins played them). But never an alternative. Please for once bring something intriguing to the table.

  21. He is not worth it. The risk is too high and deep down heck from the surface you know it too.

    Solution: Do not act out of desperation. Follow the example of the enduring winners like the steelers, patriots, Green Bay, Denver. They do NOT sign a QB or any other player to such a large sum even as a franchise. They make the player take the risk. They are not afraid to let unproven winners (and that is all they want) walk. They only sign the big dollars after the players have won playoff and super bowls.

    Let Kirk test free agency based on the above. It is o.k. to test fA and then decide if you want to risk it. You are not letting Tom Brady walk. The pats would not do it. Kirk is being greedy and taking advantage of the skins and the situation they gave him. No one else was going to pay Kirk cousins big dollars to start in a new system for that kind of money or even close.

    If he is that greedy and unfair then let Kirk choose to go with another team and snub his nose at the skins. He will most assuredly learn that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Let Colt McCoy get a chance next year and draft a rookie QB or bring in another veteran QB that plays to Grudens system while you build up a stronger team around them with the additional money. The skins are not going to win the big bowl next year anyway-DID YOU SEE THE PLAYOFFS (THOSE DEFENSES!!!!) Get rid of Gruden and bring in a real smart coach who would not have put the skins in this avoidable situation.

    If Gruden had played RG3, Colt, And Kirk last year as we knew they were not going to win the SB. The skins would have been in their best position. They would have had real in house competition and for sure a second or even third viable choice.

    In fact, the WORSE thing that could have happened last year was for the skins to win the division. They just made things super difficult for themselves next year with the harder schedule and their draft pick even went down.

    It would have been smarter to really use the new year with scot as a look and see what all you have on your roster with the new and improved offensive line now that callahan is here.

    I just went back and watched some of the Michigan state games in 2011 where Kirk played and he played the same way with a lot of the short and lateral passes and he made some good throws but he made a lot of inaccurate passes and did not do well when pressured. So, instead of Jay trying to make Kirk successful last year by reducing what he was asking kirk to do, he should have seen whether kirk could bring up his play in the full opened up offense. So, Jay shut down the offense to fit kirks abilities and then and only then did the interceptions come down and his completion percentage shot up. But, we all know the skins are not going to beat better teams with that limited offense. Kirk is going to have to beat better defenses. As it is they are stuck paying $20Mil to Kirk Cousins. Maybe Colt could have done even better. RG3 needs to protect himself and get out of DC since they chose to listen to Jay Gruden. RG3 should not play for Jay Gruden. So, he is fine with moving on. Jay is not good people. He is sneaky and looks out for himself.
    There’s a little something for you and a lot more where that comes from.

  22. Still beating that dead horse with this article I see.

    No, he should settle for a multi-year 17-18M contract if it’s offered. It’s called “security”. And smart negotiating.

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