Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 14, 10 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
What will Cousins’ deal look like?
March 1, the last day for teams to give players the franchise tag, is about two and a half weeks away. That is the initial deadline for the Redskins and Kirk Cousins to agree to a long-term contract. Will a deal get done or not? Will it be for top dollar or something less than that?
Let’s get $100 in imaginary casino chips and spread them over four potential scenarios according to what I think the chances are. You will note that Cousins leaving and signing with another team is not one of the scenarios; I simply don’t think there is any chance of that happening.
Agrees to contract in $17-$18 million per year range, $20—This would be a relatively short-term deal, perhaps four years with the last one voidable with about $20 million guaranteed. It also would contain some incentives that would pay off for achieving individual and team goals. Cousins’ camp may want a deal like this if he wants another chance to be a free agent at age 30.
Agrees to contract in $19-$20 million per year range, $35—This would a four- or five-year deal with at least $30 million guaranteed. A $20 million per year deal in terms of annual average it would get him up with Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, and Matt Ryan. Yes, those are two Super Bowl winners and a player who has been to multiple playoffs. But the fact that the salary cap has increased dramatically since those deals were signed needs to be accounted for. The key to avoiding future cap issues like the Saints and Ravens are going through is to not backload the deal too heavily.
Gets tagged, signs by July 15 deadline, $25—It’s quite possible that the negotiations will go into overtime. I don’t want to create a new betting category here but I do think that Cousins will sign the tender and participate in the offseason program. He didn’t get first-team reps last offseason since Robert Griffin III was the starter and I doubt that he will want to set himself up for failure by missing a chance to get those reps.
Gets tagged, plays the season on the tag, $15—This really isn’t a good option for anybody. Cousins gets a nice $19 million for 2016 but no security. The Redskins get another year to evaluate Cousins’ worth on a long-term deal but if he is even competent they set themselves up for a bigger contract fight in 2017 with the tag price for Cousins jumping up to $23 million. Despite the downsides I might be underestimating the possibility of this scenario playing out. Stay tuned.
How do you think it will play out? Place your bets in the comments below.
—The Redskins last played a game 35 days ago. It will be about 210 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL Combine 10; NFL free agency starts 24; 2016 NFL draft 74
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