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A Kirk Cousins Long-Term Deal and the Cap Ramifications for the Redskins

NFL: Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Redskins Nation is so worked up about Kirk Cousins leaving this offseason - most in part because the main-stream media is looking to drum up some story lines, and the local beat writers are saying there is a lot of discontent within the Cousins’ camp.

I don’t believe a word of it.

I think Cousins knows what he has here in D.C., believes in Jay Gruden and his supporting cast of players, and signs a long-term deal here this offseason, where he and his wife Julie can raise their son for the next 5-6 years.

Yes Virginia (and Maryland and D.C.), there is a Santa Clause, and although he may be a bit late to arrive to our Nations Capital, I believe he delivers us a Kirk Cousins deal sometime in the near future!

So, just how could a new long-term deal look, and what impact could it have on the 2018 salary cap?

The baseline here will be the new deal Matt Stafford signed in Detroit. Stafford signed a 5 year, $135,000,000 contract, including a $50,000,000 signing bonus, $92,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $27,000,000. Staffford’s cap hit in year one was $16,500,000.

I expect Cousins’ deal to eclipse Stafford’s, making him the highest paid player in the NFL. A deal could be structured something similar to this:

Length - 5 years

Total Value - $137,500,000

Signing Bonus - $52,000,000

Total Guarantee - $95,000,000

Average Annual Salary - $27,500,000

2018 Cap Hit - $18,000,000

Does Cousins deserve to be the highest paid player in the NFL? Let’s look at his numbers compared to Stafford’s over the last three years to see how he stacks up.

Matt Stafford:

2015 (16): 4262 YDS, 67.2%, 32 TD’s, 13 INT’s Rating - 97.0 W/L - 7-9

2016 (16): 4237 YDS, 65.3%, 24 TD’s, 10 INT’s Rating - 93.3 W/L - 9-7

2017 (15): 4123 YDS, 65.5%, 26 TD’s, 10 INT’s Rating - 97.1 W/L - 8-7

Kirk Cousins:

2015 (16): 4166 YDS, 69.9%, 29 TD’s, 11 INT’s Rating - 101.6 W/L - 9-7

2016 (16): 4917 YDS, 67.0%, 25 TD’s, 12 INT’s Rating - 97.2 W/L - 8-7-1

2017 (15): 3935 YDS, 65%, 27 TD’s, 10 INT’s Rating - 98.5 W/L - 7-8


Over the past three season, each player has played in the exact same number of games. Cousins’ average in yards per season, completion percentage, and rating are all higher than Stafford's. They are equal in TD’s/INT’s, with both averaging 27/10 per season. Their win/loss records are almost identical with Cousins’ holding an ever-so-slight advantage with still one game to play this season. Cousins was selected to the 2016 Pro Bowl.

As you can see from the analysis above, from a pure statistical perspective, Cousins is worth every penny of Stafford’s contract (plus inflation).

What type of impact would a long-term deal for Cousins have on the Redskins salary cap?

The Redskins are projected to enter 2018 with almost $55 million in cap space. Aside from Cousins, there are some key pending free agents the Redskins should look at signing. Below is a look at how our cap situation could shake out while retaining our own players.

2018 Free Agent Re-Signings:

Kirk Cousins - $18 million cap hit

Zach Brown - $5 million cap hit

Trent Murphy - $5 million cap hit

Spencer Long - $4 million cap hit

Mason Foster - $3 million cap hit

Ryan Grant - $2 million cap hit

Junior Galette - $2 million cap hit

Signing our own pending free agents above would cost an estimated $39 million (give or take a few million), leaving us approximately $16 million left over to sign free agents from other teams and our 2018 NFL Draft picks. More money could be made available by releasing some high-priced veterans like Josh Norman ($8 million savings) and Jordan Reed ($5 million savings).

In conclusion, a long-term deal for Kirk Cousins would be expensive, but it could be structured in a way that would allow the team to sign some of our own key free agents, and go to the open market to make sure we can upgrade at a few key positions of need. Most importantly, it will allow us to go into the 2018 NFL Draft and select young talent at positions of need with our top picks.

Lets get this done Redskins! And while you’re at it... fire Bruce Allen!


Would you approve of the above proposed long-term contract for Kirk Cousins?

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  • 85%
    (2399 votes)
  • 12%
    (343 votes)
  • 1%
    Franchise or transition tag him for another year
    (52 votes)
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