The Washington Redskins have given QB Kirk Cousins the franchise tag for the second year in a row. He’s trying to turn his excellent statistical output into a long-term deal, so the tag isn’t what he’s been shooting for. However, though many assume that he’d be angry about it, he actually sounded very positive in an interview with MMQB’s Peter King. Per NBC’s Pro Football Talk and Josh Alper, Cousins said:
“There are far greater challenges in this league than the situation I’m in. I mean, there are guys getting cut, not knowing where they’re going to have move their families, not knowing where their next job’s going to be. That’s a much tougher situation than where I am. So I feel very fortunate and look forward to the opportunity that I have in Washington.”
Cousins was a third-round draft pick out of Michigan State, a guy whose rookie deal paid him around $2.6M for the first four years of his career. Then he made just under $20M last year. He’s set up to make just under $24M in 2017. That gives him a total of around $44M in just two seasons. That’s more than a lot of guys get in guaranteed money on longer contracts, and it’s life-changing money. Certainly, Cousins seems to be aware of that.
There’s also the potential for a ton of guaranteed cash if he eventually does get the deal he’s seeking – and guaranteed money is all that matters, realistically. Say Cousins plays 2017 and then signs a long-term deal that gives him $56M guaranteed. That may even be low – the Bears gave Jay Cutler $53M guaranteed a few years ago, and these numbers always trend up.
In any case, $56M guaranteed would then give Cousins $100M guaranteed, which he’d “earn” in about three years – though he’d have to play at least a few years of his long-term deal as he collected it. If he played the full deal, obviously, he’d make far more than $100M.
Either way, he’s not exactly in a bad position.