The cost for Cousins: What Kirk Cousins’ long-term contract could look like

Quarterback Kirk Cousins throws in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders.
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

NORFOLK, Va. – A long-term deal is a long shot for the Redskins and Kirk Cousins.

By inking their franchise quarterback to back-to-back one year contracts via the franchise tag, the Redskins have invested  nearly $44 million ($19.9 million in 2016, $23.9 million in 2017) on Cousins the past two seasons.  Michael Ginnitti, Co-Founder/Editor of Spotrac, an online sports system for player contracts, salary cap breakdowns and team payrolls, projects $44 million will not even cover the guaranteed money in a potential long-term contract for Cousins.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins throws in the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Ginnitti, who calls 2018 the “Mother of all NFL offseasons”, says Cousins holds a $25.6 million market value heading toward free agency. Unless the Redskins use a third straight exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a move that would cost $34 million in 2018, Captain Kirk is headed for the open market as an unrestricted free agent.

Spotrac projects Cousins to ink a five year deal worth $128 million. Ginnitti estimates Cousins will receive a $15 million signing bonus and an annual average salary of $25.6 million. His guaranteed money at signing (signing bonus + 2018 salary + 2019 salary) would be $50 million.

February 20th is the first day for team’s to use the franchise tag or transition tag on players. The transition tag, also a one-year contract, would cost the Redskins less than the $34 million of the franchise tag, however it would allow Cousins to entertain long-term contract offers from other teams. Washington would then have the right to match any offer.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins scores a touchdown. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The deadline to do so is March 6th. Therefore, we’ll know whether or not Cousins will hit the open market no later than 4:00 p.m. eastern time on March 6th. Free agency begins at 4:00 p.m. March 14th.

Cousins has started all 16 games each of the past three seasons for the burgundy an gold. After a career-high 4,917 passing yards in 2016, the 29 year old passed for 4,093 in 2017 with more passing touchdowns (27) than his prior season (25).

2015, his first full-season as a starter, Cousins achieved a career-best 101.6 passer rating, career-high 29 passing TDs and a career-low 11 interceptions. Late in that 2015 season, Cousins said the team tried to tried to reach a long-term contract with its QB, but his agent Mike McCartney advised him to pass on that offer. The Redskins later used the franchise tag on Cousins in the offseason.