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The 5 O’Clock Club: What would the 2018 cap hit look like from a LTD for Cousins?

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

NFL: Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

Most people, when they think about NFL contracts, use common sense, and figure that if Kirk Cousins signs a 5 year, $125m deal, then the cap will be $25m in 2018 ($125m/5).

The fact is, NFL contracts just don’t work that way. The structure of the contract and the cap hit are designed in a ways that don’t conform to common sense.

In the example above, the 2018 cap hit for a 5 year, $125m contract would more likely be around $16m.

Let’s look at how Kirk Cousins contracts might be structured at different total contract values, and then estimate the likely 2018 contract hit for each level of contract.

In each case, I’ll try to keep things fairly simple by using a 5 year structure, and keep the guarantee consistent at $80m, including a $60m signing bonus.

$125 million total value ($25m APY) = 2018 cap hit of $16m

$137.5 million total value ($27.5m APY) = 2018 cap hit of $18m

$150 million total value ($30m APY) = 2018 cap hit of $20m

Spotrac recently took a stab at projecting Kirk’s contract

They went for 5 years, $128m total, $25.6m APY,

$15m signing bonus, $50m guaranteed at signing

Notice that they are using a much lower signing bonus and guarantee that are (in my view) not likely to be enough to entice Kirk to sign. Still, this shows that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

2018 cap hit = $20.5m

According to OverTheCap, the Redskins are currently projected to have $52,169,672 before re-signing Kirk

Impact of draft picks on Salary cap

With 8 draft picks (the Redskins have two picks in the 7th round) OverTheCap estimates that the Redskins will need $7.24m to sign their rookie draft class.

Draft picks: 13, 44, 78, 115, 151, 191, 231, 241

Effect of the 51-player cutoff:

However, there will be a further adjustment for the top-51 player cutoff.

  • Four of the draft picks are projected to contracts too small to qualify for the top 51. This should create an offset to the rookie pool of about $2m.
  • The top four draft picks who do make the list will push 4 current players off the list. Right now, that would create another offset of about $2.42m

After offsets, the Redskins will need to set aside about $2.8m to sign 8 draft picks.

Calculating the Dollars

Projected Cap (now): $52.17m

Adjusted Rookie Pool: $2.8 m

Minimum reserve for replacing injured players during the season: $5m

Remaining for free agency: $44.4m

With a likely 2018 cap hit from a Cousins LTD of between $16 - $20m, the Redskins should find themselves with about $24 - $28m in availbale cap space to go shopping in free agency in mid-March if they ink Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal this off-season.


Which position is the highest priority to fill with a veteran free agent from another team?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (21 votes)
  • 9%
    inside linebacker
    (49 votes)
  • 17%
    defensive tackle
    (90 votes)
  • 12%
    offensive line
    (61 votes)
  • 0%
    tight end
    (2 votes)
  • 39%
    wide receiver
    (200 votes)
  • 7%
    running back
    (40 votes)
  • 7%
    (39 votes)
502 votes total Vote Now


How many veteran free agents (from other teams) do you think the Redskins should sign this off-season?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    (9 votes)
  • 37%
    (159 votes)
  • 55%
    (236 votes)
  • 5%
    5 or more
    (25 votes)
429 votes total Vote Now