Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: 5 years, $130 million ($84 million fully guaranteed)
I’ll admit to not fully buying into this marriage at first for a few reasons. One, it felt like a pretty drastic evacuation from the formula that won this team a lot of games last season. I also couldn’t escape the loyalty the Vikings appeared to have for Teddy Bridgewater, nor could I fathom how the team could juggle the salary cap in order to keep its core of talent in place.
Oh sure, they’re in good shape now with just under $50 million in cap space and they can create more by releasing a few players (Sharrif Floyd, Latavius Murray, Jarius Wright) if they want to. But there’s the matter of the hoard of 2019 free agents: Eric Kendricks, Stefon Diggs, Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter and Trae Waynes, among others.
But GM Rick Spielman has overseen good cap management the past few years, and I suspect the Vikings coaches feel they reached a glass ceiling with Case Keenum. Can Cousins get them there? After a devastating playoff exit, the Vikings just might be motivated enough to find out.
One other factor: Cousins might get offered more money elsewhere, from the New York Jets or whomever. But after earning $44 million the past two seasons, he might not be as financially motivated as some have speculated. We just think he wants to be wanted and wants to win.
This deal is more than Derek Carr, slightly less than Matthew Stafford. And it lands Cousins in the best place to win.