New money, shmew money. Contracts should be assessed based on total value at signing. And under that standard, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is once against the highest-paid player in football.
The final year of Cousins’ three-year, $84 million deal signed in 2018 has been torn up and replaced with a new three-year, $96 million contract. That pays out $32 million per year, which is more than the $31.4 million per year that Russell Wilson‘s contract carries at signing.
Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Cousins gets a $30 million signing bonus, a fully-guaranteed $9.5 million salary in 2020, a $500,000 workout bonus in 2020, a fully-guaranteed $21 million salary in 2021, and a $35 million base salary in 2022 that becomes fully guaranteed if Cousins is on the roster on the third day of the 2021 league years.
The deal also can be characterized as a two-year extension with a $33 million new-money average, $2 million per year below Russell Wilson’s $35 million new-money average. But as total value at signing goes, Cousins takes over the top spot, adding a fresh $96 million over three years to the two years, $54.5 million he already has been paid, and Cousins will make $150.5 million over five years with the Vikings — a total per-year average from signing in 2018 of $30.1 million.
Throw in the $43.89 million that Cousins made under two years of the franchise tag in Washington, and his seven-year haul becomes $194.39 million.