Should Kirk Cousins Care about the Payday?

Unveil Kirk
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When the Minnesota Vikings kick off their 2024 NFL regular season, there is a very real possibility they could do so with a different quarterback under center. Kirk Cousins has said everything right about wanting to be back, but it will come down to money. Should he be looking to get every last dollar?

Should Kirk Cousins Care about the Payday?

Let’s preface this right off the bat: Maximizing your worth and finding ways to be adequately compensated for your services are things everyone should pursue to the fullest. Now that that’s out of the way, an athlete who has been compensated to the degree Kirk Cousins has may find himself in a different way of thinking.

Should Kirk
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The Vikings will weigh two relative negatives when negotiating with their longtime veteran quarterback. Cousins is returning from a significant Achilles injury, and he will also be playing in 2024 at 36 years old. He has been a pillar of health to this point in his career, but it only takes one injury for that notion to start tailing off.

Also at play for the Vikings is the reality that the NFL imposes a salary cap, and dollars must be spent on the totality of the team to field a competitive roster. Justin Jefferson is due for a payday, and so, too, is Danielle Hunter. Christian Darrisaw will follow them a year from now, and other vital contributors must be retained.

To date, Cousins has earned more than $231 million on the field. That’s a handsome sum spread out over 12 seasons, and he has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league across that time, but he doesn’t have the ultimate goal to show for it. If Cousins is about cementing a legacy, a ring for his finger may be something he covets.

Kirk Cousins Took
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There is no way that Minnesota is going to get a hometown discount in the vein of $10-15 million annually, but that is something that the quarterback could do if he wanted. Tom Brady routinely took lesser salaries throughout his career in order to load the team around him. Cousins hasn’t had the marketing opportunities that Brady possessed, but the dollars are all relative at some point.

If Minnesota wants to make an offer within the $20-30 million range on an annual basis, it would be a strong form of commitment to suggest that they want the veteran back. Cousins could look at that figure and feel scorned that it doesn’t scratch the top end of the free agent landscape, or he could view it as an opportunity to supplement his talent substantially.

Turn to One
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Where Cousins has made his money in the league, plenty of younger players have yet to secure the bag. Those are the ones that will be more difficult to negotiate below-market deals with, and the signal caller allowing the organization some additional financial flexibility could go a long way. To be sure, it is not Cousins’ job to provide a break for Minnesota by any means, but this is certainly an instance where he also stands to benefit.

Should Cousins be looking for the largest payday and greatest opportunity to add additional zeroes, it’s time to stop pretending a reunion with the Vikings will happen. If he wants to be in Minnesota and his ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl before he hangs them up, he should take the lowest amount acceptable in his eyes and tell the front office there’s no excuse not to put all the pieces around him.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.