Kirk Cousins Deal: Quarterback market could soon hit $30 million per year
An expert thinks Cousins will be the highest paid player
According to a recent piece by ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Cousins is going to have a chance to be the highest paid player in the history of the NFL. In the piece, Graziano says:
"It would cost Washington nearly $35 million to franchise Cousins again in 2018, and $28.8 million to use the transition tag on him. Cousins’ 2017 guarantee means he would need much more than Carr to sign by the July 17 deadline, and so far the team has been unwilling to offer him the kind of deal that would entice him away from the promises of unrestricted free agency with multiple teams bidding next spring. The bet here is that he hits the market and gets more than $30 million a year on his new deal, setting a new benchmark for quarterback salaries."
This may seem like an absurd statement, but Graziano could be correct. Given the relative lack of quality, NFL starting quarterbacks, Cousins’ price will already be jacked up if he hits the free agent market. It is widely known that Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers have a great deal of interest in him, and Cousins may opt to sign there if he hits the open market. At the very least, he can use that offer as leverage to squeeze more money out of the Redskins.
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As Graziano also mentions, signing Cousins before the July 17 deadline could be difficult, because Cousins and his agent will understand what Carr’s deal has done for the market. And with Matthew Stafford also set to possibly receive and extension, among others, Cousins may elect to wait until that deal is done and try to one up it. In all likelihood, that will be another contract that is greater than or equal to the Carr deal. They could even hit the $30 million mark in those extensions.
There is always the possibility that Cousins could regress in 2017 and not be worth the type of long term deal that the Redskins would have paid him. However, that could qualify as a lose-lose for the team. The fact is simple. Had they agreed to a contract with Cousins earlier on in the process that was mutually beneficial, then they could have avoided this scenario.
Of course, hindsight is always 20-20 and the Redskins may not have had the confidence in Cousins to pull the trigger at any point. But there was still going to be a spike in quarterback salaries, and the team should have seen that coming. Once Joe Flacco got his record breaking deal, every new quarterback deal was set to break that. Any potentially qualified guy could point to Flacco’s numbers and say he was worth more than that. And given the lack of quarterback talent, teams had to pay.
Next: Washington Redskins bold predictions 2017
At the end of the day, this is just another potentially interesting development in the Cousins contract situation. If the market value of quarterbacks continues to rise, this could be an even more difficult decision and pursuit for the Redskins.