Kirk Cousins may be a Viking beyond 2020.
During a recent recording of his SKOR North podcast called “The Scoop,” KSTP reporter Darren Wolfson spoke with Joel Corry, a former NFL agent and current salary cap contributor for CBS Sports, about different ways the Vikings can open up cap space this offseason.
“Not to say that they’ll absolutely hammer out an extension, but I’m positive the #Vikings are going to approach [Kirk Cousins’ agent] and try to work something out.”
–@DWolfsonKSTP on SKORNorth
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) January 19, 2020
“There is one place where you can get significant cap room we haven’t even touched on — Cousins,” said Corry. “He’s got a $29.5M base salary, $31M cap number, and basically if you don’t [extend] him this year, he can hit the open market.”
The Vikings, who have 16 unrestricted free agents and are currently projected to be $5-to-$10 million over the salary cap when free agency begins, don’t have many options when it comes to Cousins’ deal.
“Can’t put a transition tag on him, third franchise tag is too cost prohibitive, it’s like $45 million. Basically, if you want Cousins on a go-forward basis, you have to do something,” Corry explained. “You could pick up significant cap room by converting some of that $29.5M base salary into a signing bonus, sign an extension and prorate it… I’m curious to see if the [Vikings] approach his agent.”
“I think [Rick] Spielman and [Mike] Zimmer are married to Kirk Cousins,” replied Wolfson. “I think they do approach the agent, Mike McCartney, probably as soon as the Combine in late February in Indianapolis and just see where things stand.”
Wolfson then pondered what an extension would look like in terms of dollars and structure. Corry said Cousins’ agent will clearly be seeking a raise.
Corry, speaking from an agent’s viewpoint: “If you offer me something that doesn’t suggest a current deal for the cap going up since we did the [first] deal, I’m not interested. That would put you at an average of $31.5M. The question is, are they going to want to do another short-term deal… Or are they willing to extend it out a little bit longer and plant some roots.”
The former NFL agent thinks a new contract for Cousins will not be structured like his previous fully-guaranteed deal.
“I don’t think you can structure the deal the way you did [last] time,” said Corry. “Small signing bonus, big base salaries. I think you’re going to have to go the more conventional route with a big signing bonus. And then, do you give him a big enough signing bonus where he can hang his hat on ‘I’ve got the biggest signing bonus in history’ — right now it’s Russell Wilson at $65M — and if you can get [Cousins] to do four new years, prorate that out, give him a next-to-nothing base salary, you can pick up like $10 million in cap room right there.”
“Not to say that they’ll absolutely hammer out an extension,” Wolfson replied, “but I’m positive the Vikings are going to approach McCartney and try to work something out.”
“It makes sense,” Corry said. “He holds all the cards from the standpoint of, if you don’t extend him and he does what he did this year in the regular season and you win another playoff game, he’s going to be valuable to a lot of people.”