Kirk Cousins Draws Crazy Salary Prediction

Kirk Cousins
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Quarterback Kirk Cousins joined Minnesota in 2018 after the franchise appeared in the NFC Championship Game, signing an unprecedented, fully guaranteed contract. He was supposed to be the missing piece, but it never led to much team success for various reasons, from flawed roster management to underwhelming performances from the passer.

Kirk Cousins Draws Crazy Salary Prediction

draws crazy
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A popular talker has been for years that the veteran was too expensive to build a competent roster around him and only elite QBs can overcome those deficiencies. However, the franchise simply missed too many draft picks and failed to reinforce the team. Having $10 million extra cash to spend in free agency while downgrading the QB position doesn’t win a Super Bowl, either.

Six years after joining Skol Nation, it is realistic that Cousins will begin a different chapter. His situation isn’t quite comparable to the one he had in 2018, as he is 35 years old and coming off a torn Achilles injury, but he would be a serious upgrade at the most crucial spot on the field for many teams. Supply and demand regulate the price, and with a high demand and limited supply, his value could skyrocket, similar to 2018.

Cousins has earned the status of a solid and reliable quarterback over the years. Like all QBs, he will post a couple of stinkers per season, but he is generally a trustworthy player who will produce something in the neighborhood of 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns, placing him right around the top ten rankings (with minor variations) in most years. In the last two seasons, he has proven that he can produce even when the surroundings aren’t perfect; a usual and casual talker, but he continued to play well without Justin Jefferson, and the running game has been quite a disaster as well.

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Most Vikings fans have realized that his usual salary of $35 million is no longer a large one. It would rank him 15th in the NFL according to average annual salary, and more new extensions and raises will also top that number. The 10th to 12th best-paid QBs earn $40 million. In addition to the demand, there is the phenomenon that new guys are always getting paid higher in the NFL with the rising cap numbers. All of that leads to a significant salary the Vikings might have to pay to keep the four-time Pro Bowler on the roster, as ESPN’s Bill Barnwell projects:

Cousins is unquestionably the best quarterback on the market, though he’s recovering from his first serious injury after he tore his right Achilles in late October. Before the injury, Cousins’ 63.6 QBR was the ninth-best mark in the league. His 11.2% off-target rate ranked No. 1 over the first half of the season, and he did it without Justin Jefferson for a chunk of that time.

Any team hoping to win over the next three years that isn’t in position to land one of the top starters in the 2024 draft should be trying to pursue Cousins. That’s a group that includes the Broncos, Buccaneers, Falcons, Raiders, Steelers and Titans, with the Dolphins and Seahawks as outside candidates if they move on from their current starters. Some of those teams will opt for longer shots in the draft, but if Cousins’ recovery is on track, he should be able to get one more significant deal as a 35-year-old free agent.

Bill Barnwell, ESPN
Vikings QB Situation
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That demand and his level of play guided Barnwell to a salary projection of $51 million. Just for clarification, that would be his per-season compensation. It would rank the 35-year-old fourth (tied with Jalen Hurts) behind Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Lamar Jackson for annual salary.

The following three players on the list are Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, and Russell Wilson, and after their recent play, it is not too far-fetched to see his number top theirs. He would, of course, also be higher paid than Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, but they signed their deals years ago, and as previously mentioned, the next guy is always getting paid.

Overall, it is hard to predict salaries. PFF projects a $70 million contract for two seasons, so $35 million per year. Spotrac determined his market value at $39.3 million per year.

Betting Odds for Kirk
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Injury and age will be concerns, but a salary north of $40 million is realistic and should be expected, although Barnwell’s $51 million might be too steep.

If someone is willing to pay that much, the Vikings should undoubtedly end contract talks and move to acquire his successor in the draft. A number closer to PFF’s or Spotrac’s projections could lead to Cousins staying in 2024 and beyond.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt