Three years, $91 million fully guaranteed for Kirk Cousins is a stretch

Getty Images

With free agency a week away, it’s important to separate the wheat from the crap. And there’s one specific report that seems more like crap than wheat.

Via KFAN, former Washington tight end Chris Cooley (who now has a radio show in D.C.) says that an agent told Cooley the Vikings will offer quarterback Kirk Cousins a fully-guaranteed three-year, $91 million contract. I quickly dismissed it when Paul Allen of KFAN asked about it during a Tuesday chat on his weekday radio show. But given that it keeps popping up, the time is right to point out the flaws.

First, the Vikings seem to be very sensitive about the importance of keeping enough cash and cap space available to retain as many of their other great players as possible. Committing $91 million fully guaranteed over the next three years will complicate that objective, dramatically.

Second, the current high-water mark for quarterbacks sits at $27.5 million annually. $30.33 million per year would represent an implausible spike, skipping over a slower progression of $28 million, $28.5 million, $29 million, $29.5 million, and $30 million.

Third, if the $91 million will be fully guaranteed, the Vikings would have to put the bulk of that money in escrow right now. For that reason, most teams resist fully guaranteed payments beyond two years. Only one — the Dolphins — have fully guaranteed the first three years of a contract, giving Ndamukong Suh $60 million at signing to cover 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Fourth, if the Vikings were to offer that much over three years, the Vikings would surely want more years on the back end, both for cap purposes (allowing the signing bonus to be spread over a longer period of time) and to give the Vikings the opportunity to keep Cousins under contract longer, if they choose to keep him beyond the guaranteed years.

Fifth, given that the Vikings have a better team than the Jets, the Vikings should be able to get Cousins for less than what the Jets would pay. And the Jets surely aren’t willing to fork over $91 million over three years, either.

While Cousins will indeed get paid, it would be a surprise if he hits an average of $30 million per year. If would be a shock if he gets to $30.33 million per year, fully guaranteed, on a contract that covers only three years.

66 responses to “Three years, $91 million fully guaranteed for Kirk Cousins is a stretch

  1. that’s insane, Cousins is a decent QB, but not that good…He’s not even in the top third of NFL QBs , maybe somewhere in the middle third

  2. The Redskins really created a monster with this guy. No team in their right mind is going to sign a contract like that with any quarterback.

  3. I could see $91M guaranteed in a 5 or 6 year deal. How’s $200M over 6 years sound, with $91M fully guaranteed over the first three years. It ramps up, that if he is doing well, he’ll make plenty in those last three years, but will be a free agent agent after three if he is only average.

  4. I agree it would be insane for the Vikings to give Cousins that kind of contract, but isn’t this exactly the kind of contract that Cousins is looking for? At least according to reports, he wants a 3-year deal so he can hit free agency again soon. He’ll certainly want the most guaranteed money ever, so it would have to be close to $91 million. He’s a proven free agent so the contract isn’t likely to be incrementally better than the previous biggest contract, it will likely be a fairly big spike. Everyone has used $30 million as the benchmark of what he’s going to get.

  5. I think Speilman will try to get Cousins on a longer term deal, with incentives and a lower yearly number, so he can extend his other playmakers. If that doesn’t happen he could do the same, for way less, for Keenum.

  6. Cousins is a below average NFL QB and his stats prove that, he has yet to win a playoff game as a starter and he can’t carry a team to the promise land, he is definitely not worth the money!! FACTS!!!

  7. love it
    the more they spend on Cousin’s, the less they have for others
    a great QB, which Cousin’s is not might, just might be worth a stretch
    but giving up the O Line the D Line and competent LB’s is a price you pay when you overpay a QB
    but that is why teams that are mediocre always remain mediocre – stupidity

  8. These are uncharted waters—anything is possible. A fully guaranteed contract for just 3 years for a position that rarely sees career ending injury is not that crazy. As far as the money goes if a team does not have a good QB or one that takes time to develop then essentially they are wasting 178 million a year on the rest of their roster.

  9. Amazing how this gets crazier and crazier as we closer to the date! If you can’t get a decent O-line guy in FA along with Cousins then don’t do it! I agree he should take less than what the Jets will offer, due to the fact the Vikes have the “pieces in place” (Brett Favre quote).

  10. Good quarterbacks will be able to expect 125 million for 3 years guaranteed if Cousins gets that deal.

  11. Well, if he doesn’t get atleast that amount….this whole ride has been a pile of worthless nothing. A QB in his prime with enough upside fights his way to free agency after being franchise tagged twice by a team that never really committed to him….ironic how an old player is saying it was Kirk who was non committal. All the sudden the excitement is being drained from this experience and media is reporting very few teams willing to pay him. This is like being on a feris wheel. Kirk better push the guaranteed money high and salary over 30 a year for everyone coming after him.

  12. Good. More NFL players need to start pushing for fully guaranteed contracts. It has to start with the QBs. Rodgers needs to command a fully guaranteed 5 year deal.

  13. For Packer fans making sport of a possible big money deal…..remember that Rodgers is awaiting the Cousins deal so he can get even more to stay in Green Bay. If the Vikes break the bank for Cousins, it will also affect your teams financial dynamics.

  14. Cousins is good but I wouldn’t place him in the current top 8 NFL QBs. He’s all about the money and maximizing his earnings and good luck to him. That’s why he will become the highest paid player in the history of the game. While he is an experienced veteran player, the team that successfully signs him is actually taking a bigger risk than most would expect. His win/loss ratio is very average for the level of compensation that he will command.

  15. There’s no way in hades Cousins gets that kind of money from any team. He’s not worth it, and there’s no way the Vikings are going to pay that. In fact, the only owner willing to break the bank like that for a player is Dan Snyder, owner of the team that didn’t want him back.

  16. “This will not sit well with the red carpet diva #12 in Green Bay.” Any big deal QB deal only benefits Rodgers . . .

    And, gotta love the jealousy. Rodgers has been so far from a diva, sitting quietly behind Favre, winning it all early on, being quiet about his contracts and extensions, never complaining about the lack of talent on defense, being positive about his team and community. You wish you had a guy with Rodgers talent and character. He’s been a locker room leader for years, demonstrating what it takes to be highly successful in this league.

  17. ” If the Vikes break the bank for Cousins, it will also affect your teams financial dynamics.” Yes, but he big difference will be Rodgers has earned it. Cousins certainly hasn’t. WAS created a monster by franchising him twice and never more than 9-7. Zimmer is a defensive coach. Can’t imagine he wants to see his defense dismantled over the next several years, b/c they don’t have room to sign the guys they really want to keep.

  18. .
    Washington has been irrelevant for a decade. Cousins has been at the helm. If a team gives him 30m a year guaranteed, his usual 9-7 is not going to cut it.
    .

  19. @In Teddy We Trust

    He’s a proven free agent
    ————————————————————————————–

    What, exactly has he proven? 6 years in the league, a 26 -31 record and 0-1 in the playoffs.

  20. There are only two guys in this league that are worth this much and we know both of their names…no other QB, besides the big 2, transcends the game and elevates their team to justify that high a salary.

  21. thesilentshoplifter says:
    March 7, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    The Nfl qb mnarket is self-correcting. Arguably, the most important position in sports, their compensation pales in comparison to the MLB.
    ———————

    If there were no salary cap in the NFL, it might be different.

  22. fartweasel says:
    March 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm
    For Packer fans making sport of a possible big money deal…..remember that Rodgers is awaiting the Cousins deal so he can get even more to stay in Green Bay. If the Vikes break the bank for Cousins, it will also affect your teams financial dynamics.

    ————————————————————-
    I’m not convinced these reports are true, I’m still hoping that the Vikes can get KC for somewhere in the 25-27 mil range. However if these reports are accurate the real winner would be the Chicago Bears who would see all 3 division foes having major money tied up in the QB position for the next 5 years.

  23. mrkbuilders says:
    March 7, 2018 at 12:40 pm
    There are only two guys in this league that are worth this much and we know both of their names…no other QB, besides the big 2, transcends the game and elevates their team to justify that high a salary.

    ——————————————————-
    I would argue there is only 1, and he is smart enough to know that if he takes 15 a year he will live fine, and be on a team that is consistently a championship caliber team.

  24. I’m calling BS on this right now. This is the kind of story that Cousin’s scumwad agent is floating to get the bidding wars started. No way would any team give a player a short term deal fully guaranteed. What is the incentive for the team? This is a players dream contract, short and fully guaranteed so that they can hit the market again. If any of these teams are going to guarantee that kind of coin, Cousins’ is going to have to surrender his rights to them for the next 5-6 years. You want that kind of guaranteed cash that is just what you are going to have to do, you CAN’T have it both ways. If any team does this its going to open the door for every qb to go for this kind of deal. Sooner or later the quarterback bubble is going to pop, it is utterly ridiculous the disparity between what a qb can earn and what a top rb like Le’veon Bell is getting. Yes, qb’s are the top player and should get paid the most but it’s just getting out of control now. This is a team game and the quarterback isn’t the only player out there.

  25. mrkbuilders says:
    March 7, 2018 at 12:40 pm
    There are only two guys in this league that are worth this much and we know both of their names…no other QB, besides the big 2, transcends the game and elevates their team to justify that high a salary.
    —————————-
    I agree. Brady and Brees deserve this kind of money.
    Vikings should flat call Brees’ agent and offer it.

  26. ” If the Vikes break the bank for Cousins, it will also affect your teams financial dynamics.” Yes, but he big difference will be Rodgers has earned it.

    THIS is the only part of your statement that makes sense talking about. What difference, in the financial dynamics of the Packers being affected has anything to do with Rogers earning it or not? It affects GB DRAMATICALLY…end of sentence.

    Cousins certainly hasn’t. WAS created a monster by franchising him twice and never more than 9-7. Zimmer is a defensive coach. Can’t imagine he wants to see his defense dismantled over the next several years, b/c they don’t have room to sign the guys they really want to keep.

  27. Basically the Vikings can sign Bridgewater to a two year extention for around $10m per year. If the Vikings medical department is happy with his knee, then there is minimal if any drop off by not signing Cousins. If Bridgewater proves his health and plays brilliantly, then he gets paid like a franchise QB when he’s only 27 years old.

  28. Tom Brady should not be in any discussions of QB salary. He cares less what he makes since he has that nice 50 million per year cushion his wife makes! The argument over who is closer to a SB is not the reason NY would need to pay more. You seen the taxes required to live in New York? Yes Kirk is in the top 1/3 of the league and the ball does not lie. Rated 7th 17, with no legitimate wide-outs and a TE that played 6 games. No running backs that would start on any NFL team. When he had legitimate wide outs he was 3rd 2016, 10th in 15 in his first year as a starter. Brady Brees Rodgers have how many seasons under their belt? Everyone of them have more than 10 years over Cousins in the NFL as a starter.

  29. In about a week all this speculation will all be over, and regardless of the Vikings’ decision, I’m sure the cheesers and that one Pats fan that always comments on Vikings articles will have something to criticize.

  30. Sometimes you have to spend some extra money if you think it will accomplish your long term goal. For the Vikings that’s winning our first Superbowl. Signing Cousins would instantly make the Vikings Superbowl favorites for the next 3 years. Is it worth it for the Vikings to spend that kind of money if it puts us in the position to finally win it all while our Superbowl window is open? Essentially he’s the missing piece we’ve been searching for over 4 decades. The answer is YES.

  31. fartweasel says:
    March 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm
    For Packer fans making sport of a possible big money deal…..remember that Rodgers is awaiting the Cousins deal so he can get even more to stay in Green Bay. If the Vikes break the bank for Cousins, it will also affect your teams financial dynamics.
    ……………………………………………………………………………….
    To stay in Green Bay??? He’s still got 2 years left on his current deal, plus at least 2 franchise tags. Rodgers is there for at least 4 more years.

  32. I don’t get the quibble over $330k. You’re insanely willing to pay the guy $30 million per but the extra $330k per is a bridge too far? I hope the Vikings sign him and I will make a prediction right now: with Kirk Cousins as their starting QB the Vikings will be a 10-6 wild card in the 2018 season. They won’t even take their division, will regress by 3 games and will be one and done in the playoffs.

  33. I don’t understand all these fans who want players to make more and more money. You do realize where that extra money comes from right? Raised ticket prices, more expensive food and merchandise. Why do you want to have to keep paying more each year?

  34. slippery59 says:
    March 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm
    fartweasel says:
    March 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm
    For Packer fans making sport of a possible big money deal…..remember that Rodgers is awaiting the Cousins deal so he can get even more to stay in Green Bay. If the Vikes break the bank for Cousins, it will also affect your teams financial dynamics.
    ……………………………………………………………………………….
    To stay in Green Bay??? He’s still got 2 years left on his current deal, plus at least 2 franchise tags. Rodgers is there for at least 4 more years.
    ——————————
    Sounds like you haven’t been paying attention. It is common knowledge already that the packers are currently planning an extension on Rodgers contract and both Rodgers and the team are waiting to see what cousins gets paid. There have been multiple articles about it here already.

  35. Exactly why Rodgers is waiting for Cousins to sign but 91 million will never happen. Don’t blame the player if the team is willing to overpay and restructure the whole market value of the QB position. But of course you always blame the players lol

  36. irishgary says:
    March 7, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    @In Teddy We Trust

    He’s a proven free agent
    ————————————————————————————–

    What, exactly has he proven? 6 years in the league, a 26 -31 record and 0-1 in the playoffs.
    ___________

    He’s essentially Matthew Stafford. Look at their stats and records from the last three years. They’re nearly identical. Like it or not, a 3-year track record of Stafford-like production makes him a proven free agent. He should get more than Garoppolo.

  37. People argue Cousins isn’t worth it, but the highest paid player in the league has been a career backup thus far. It isn’t a matter of whether or not they’re worth it, it’s a matter of what the market dictates.

  38. As a Dolphin fan we all know about free agent hype, getting your man then falling flat on our faces after about week 5 with the realisation that we’re as bad as we ever was. The Vikes have a better team than we had and have, but paying huge in free agency hardly ever works. I don’t know what your team chemistry is like now but you need to be a very special player iif your going to fork out that kind of dough and to keep harmony amongst your star players because they will all want paid. Sometimes it’s not the players themselves that get that envy bug sometimes it’s those little voices from outside like agents, wags, that will be bending ears. Cousins is not a special player but teams do get desperate to excite the fans for the summer months.

  39. As a Dolphin fan we all know about free agent hype, getting your man then falling flat on our faces after about week 5 with the realisation that we’re as bad as we ever was. The Vikes have a better team than we had and have, but paying huge in free agency hardly ever works. I don’t know what your team chemistry is like now but you need to be a very special player iif your going to fork out that kind of dough and to keep harmony amongst your star players because they will all want paid. Sometimes it’s not the players themselves that get that envy bug sometimes it’s those little voices from outside like agents, wags, that will be bending ears. Cousins is not a special player but teams do get desperate to excite the fans but when the season starts going b

  40. Sounds like Cousins’ agent is trying to make something happen with a winning team and push Denver to get gping.

  41. @In Teddy We Trust says:

    So I think you’re saying Stafford and Cousins have proven they are not very good leaders or QB’s.

    At least that would be accurate, as opposed to your original post.

  42. I wouldn’t sign any player for any amount of money if they are wanting a 3-year deal in order to be back on the market or find another team to play for.

  43. $91M for Cousins ??????

    Seems to me: QB salaries now need their own separate salary cap within the salary cap; something like no more than 15% of total team spend.

  44. If the Vikings are intent on letting Keenum walk (which they aren’t, according to many people close to the team) I’d skip this dude and trade for an established thrower, like Rivers or Eli. Better ammo for this ‘open window’ and time to develop a young guy too. I’m pretty certain Cousins would be a better fit for big-spend teams like Denver or the Jets.

  45. Coach Zimmer is on record as saying he doesn’t want to sign Cousins if it hurts resigning defensive guys. Giving KC more than $30 million a year does that.

  46. irishgary says:
    March 7, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    @In Teddy We Trust says:

    So I think you’re saying Stafford and Cousins have proven they are not very good leaders or QB’s.

    At least that would be accurate, as opposed to your original post.
    _________

    I don’t think the team’s record is the only way to evaluate a quarterback. Drew Brees went 7-9 three straight years. Was he not a very good leader or QB during that time?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!