The financial side of the NFL rarely makes its way onto teams’ websites, but Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen broke with that usual standard just after a second year of Kirk Cousins negotiations failed to produce a deal.
The sixth-year quarterback will again play this season on the franchise tag after Monday’s extension deadline passed without Cousins, the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell or the Rams’ Trumaine Johnson being signed. But Allen detailed the offer he made to Cousins this offseason, something that could bring about a back-and-forth with the quarterback’s camp.
“Our goal was to sign Kirk to a long-term contract with the final objective of having him finish his career with the Redskins,” said Allen, whose team doesn’t have a GM currently after the franchise parted ways with Scot McCloughan. “On May 2nd, right after the draft, we made Kirk an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury. The deal would have made him at least the second-highest-paid player by average per year in NFL history.
“But despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk’s agent (Mike McCartney) this year. Kirk has made it clear he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis. While we would have liked to work out a long-term contract before this season, we accept his decision.”
Derek Carr’s Raiders extension included $40M in full guarantees and $70M in total guarantees, so Cousins indeed would have had a deal right up there near the top of the quarterback salary hierarchy. However, he will have made $44M over the past two years and is in position to push that number into uncharted territory in 2018. The Redskins would have to pay him $28M (via the transition tag) or $34M (via a third franchise tag) if they don’t sign him to an extension before the next league year begins in March, or the quarterback could be the rare franchise passer to hit free agency.
Cousins stands in a good position to command rare dollars, thanks to this process with the Redskins that’s unfolded since the 2015 season — when he was first extension-eligible. But the soon-to-be 29-year-old quarterback won’t have 1,000-yard receivers DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garcon at his disposal this season, and offensive coordinator Sean McVay — who ran the offense during Cousins’ two breakout seasons — became the Los Angeles Rams’ head coach.
Cousins will be the only quarterback to play two straight seasons on the franchise tag.