Will Kirk Cousins get a fully-guaranteed contract?

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In each of the past two years, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has signed fully-guaranteed contracts. Of course, those contracts had a duration of only one year each.

With Cousins rocketing toward the open market (efforts by his current team to conjure up a way to trade him notwithstanding), the question becomes whether the next contract he signs will be fully guaranteed, for the full duration of its four, five, or six years.

One team already is being pegged in league circles as having the willingness to do it: The Jets. If the Jets will do it, other suitors for Cousins may have no choice but to follow suit.

Teams typically resist fully-guaranteeing more than the first two years of a contract at signing, because outdated rules require the guarantee to be funded at signing. It’s a protection that was put in place to benefit players at a time when there were concerns about the ability of teams to make ends meet. Now, to borrow a line from Eddie Murphy, the ends are meeting like a mutherf–cker.

Three years ago, the Dolphins fully guaranteed the first three years of Ndamukong Suh‘s contract. That same year, the Jets signed Darrelle Revis to a contract that contained fully-guaranteed salaries for 2015 and 2016, with $6 million of his 2017 salary fully guaranteed at signing.

So the Jets, at least once before, have departed from the standard reluctance to fully guarantee at signing more than two years of pay. Will they, or anyone else, do it into the fourth year or beyond with Cousins?

Apart from the unprecedented nature of the gesture is the question of its actual value to the player. Franchise quarterbacks rarely lose their fastball or suffer career-ending injuries. Most end up either finishing a long-term deal completely or having it torn up and replaced by a bigger deal before it expires.

As a result, Cousins could shrug at that term and say, for example, “I’d rather have a term that guarantees me a fixed percentage of the salary cap beyond year two.”

However it plays out, the man who became an unlikely trailblazer regarding the value of going year-to-year under the franchise tag could carve a new path for NFL players, either by getting a fully-guaranteed contract, securing out-year salaries based on a percentage of the cap, or both.

13 responses to “Will Kirk Cousins get a fully-guaranteed contract?

  1. Just because a franchise is worth a billion dollars, that doesn’t mean they have tens of millions of dollars in cash lying around doing nothing. They need to change that rule in the next CBA so that it makes sense for the owners to do big guarantees.

    Of course, any player could get his entire contract guaranteed – if he agreed to take a below-market deal. Everything in negotiable.

  2. Cousins is going to demand a TON of money and if he wants it to be guaranteed I’m not sure I’d do that. I know he’s a good QB and teams need a QB but do you break the bank for Cousins to the detriment of the rest of your team. He’s going to want probably $25M per year or at least close to that. Time will only tell but I think in the long run, giving him a big, guaranteed contract for over three or four years may come back to haunt whichever team signs him.

  3. Any team who loses out on Cousins with that inflated, SB killing contract should breathe a sigh of relief!!!

    I found PFT’S ranking of top 5 QB’s as of Feb 16, 2017 so I could see if they new what they were talking about:

    1. Kirk Cousins $ 24 mill cap hit

    2017 record, 7-9, 1-5 in division, and paid $24 million dollars. I would call that a hot a$$ mess., career 26-30-1, best record 9-7.

    2. Mike Glennon $14 Mill cap hit

    2017 record, 1-3, and benched in favor of a rookie Trubisky. best record 4-9

    3. Bryan Hoyer $476K cap hit

    2017 record, 0-6, and benched and traded off the team. career record, 16-21-0, best record, 7-7

    4. Matt Barkley. $319 K cap hit.
    2017 record, did not play in Arizona in 2017. career record, 1-5, which is also is best record.

    5. Case Keenam, $2 million cap hit. 11-3 came in as a backup with the Vikings. this was of course his best season. Career 20-18-0

    For what its worth.

  4. If that happens, it would open the flood-gates, because all QB’s would then think they deserve that because Kirk Cousins isn’t that great. If it happened to someone elite like Brady, Brees or maybe Rodgers, it might be an outlier, but Cousins isn’t even close their class.

  5. Not even a top 15 QB.

    I think Nick Foles, Case Keenum and Ezekiel Elliot saved the NFL.

    You don’t need a top tier QB, you need someone who can excel in your system or make a system they can excel in.

    Elliot proved that a top tier RB can make an average Qb look great.

    RB’s and 2nd tier QB’s will now be in vogue. Copycat league.

    The Elliot situation boggles the mind. RB’s should never have been out of ‘vogue’. Problem is injuries as per the position. People started the RB by committee and the 3rd down specialist. Bring the beast back. He’s the QB’s best friend.

  6. I do not want the Vikings signing Cousins for the $25-30 million a year figure that has been put out there.Cousins has been overpaid by Washington because of their ineptness.

  7. I’m sorry but I think we built this guy up into something he’s not. Think of the really great quarterbacks in history. Do you really think this guy is among them? Unitas, Brady, Fouts, Brees, you can make your own list. But has cousins ever done anything to show you that he can take a team on his back and carry them to greatness? He’s good not great and to pay great money for good performance is a mistake. I would rather see a team draft somebody or else go all in on someone like Drew Brees, then invest $24 million in this guy.

  8. And what happens when you get a QB that turns out to be bad, on the hook for four years for starter money to a guy that no longer plays for your team? The teams would rather break the bank with a front loaded contract and no guarantees. It won’t amount to the same quantity of guaranteed, the first year is cash in hand. Hard for some to turn down. Besides, teams like the Vikings give the opportunity to win, that will be their selling point, not a fully guaranteed contract. I expect Cousins to sign with a contender regardless of what is offered by teams that aren’t in a position to win now. Like the author said, good QBs see their contracts to the end or get them improved before they expire, so it’s probably a moot point. The people who push most for fully guaranteed contracts generally play other positions.

  9. Who are the teams that are driving this market? All I hear is how Cousins is going to demand this or demand that but who is interested? Not even sure he is a QB that can put a great team over the top. He certainty isn’t a guy that will carry a team to the playoffs on his own. Put him on the Broncos and you have to cut players to make it work. Put him on the Jaguars and you won’t be able to sign those draft picks. Paying one player that much is a sacrifice and if he isn’t a player that can make up for average play around him he isn’t worth it.

  10. Can’t blame Cousins or any other player if some team is going to throw that kind of money at you. But when that happens the rest of the team suffers. Not enough money to get upper echelon players at other positions. So, your team is going to have weaknesses.

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