Kirk Cousins is in a rare and enviable position: Come 4 p.m. on Monday, the Redskins quarterback is going to officially cash in, either by doing something or by doing nothing.
At that time, Cousins will either have a new, long-term contract with Washington, which will pay him a lot of money over a lot of years. Or, Cousins will finally know that he's playing the 2017 season under the franchise tag, which will pay him a lot of money over one year.
Life is good when you can throw for about 5,000 yards and are able to handle playing the most difficult position in sports, apparently.
So, whether or not an agreement is struck between the two sides on Monday, how will the quarterback stack up to other well-compensated D.C. athletes? Let's look at some numbers.
Without a new deal
If Cousins plays out 2017 on the franchise tag, he'll make $24 million. He'll need it, too, considering he has a baby on the way; sources say those things are pretty expensive.
According to research done by CSN's Chase Hughes, that $24 million makes him the second-highest paid athlete in D.C. based on 2017-18 salaries:
1) Otto Porter - $24.8M
2) Kirk Cousins - $24M
3) Bradley Beal - $23.8M
4) Max Scherzer - $22.1M
5) Jayson Werth - $21M
With a new deal
Now, if the passer and the Redskins surprise almost everyone and do indeed nail down a big, new contract, that'll change the landscape of D.C. athlete salaries. And while the financial details of that contract aren't exactly known, tons of very smart people have been speculating about it, so we can use those numbers to come up with a projection.
If you go based on guesses from ex-GM Charley Casserly (five years, $116 million, $81.5 million guaranteed, $23.2 million average annual value), ex-agent Joel Corry (five years, $130 million, $84.25 million guaranteed, $26 million AAV) and the website Spotrac (five years, $118 million, $66 million guaranteed, $23.6 AAV), you get a contract that averages out to this: five years, $121.3 million, $77.25 million guaranteed, $24.26 million AAV.
Yes, NFL contracts are different than those in other sports so it's not an exact comparison, but that projection has a higher AAV in it than the deals belonging to stars like Werth ($18M), John Wall ($16.95M) and Ryan Zimmerman ($16.6M), but still falls short of many others, such as Scherzer ($30M), Porter ($26.6M) Beal ($25.4M) and Stephen Strasburg ($25M).
What that tells you is extending Cousins and keeping him in town for a handful of years will be pricey, but it's also a commitment teams like the Wizards and Nationals have made to their cornerstones. Again, the situations aren't all the same, but no matter the sport, the message is clear: Premium talent costs premium money.