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A closer look at Kirk Cousins’ contract

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It’s a big contract, but it doesn’t appear that it will be cumbersome

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With the Minnesota Vikings putting several days worth of speculation to an end and finally signing Kirk Cousins to a three-year, $84 million contract earlier today, they obviously feel that they’ve answered any questions they might have about the quarterback position for the foreseeable future. Even though the contract that they gave Cousins is huge. . .and fully guaranteed. . .it doesn’t appear as though the deal is going to hinder the Vikings going forward.

The details of the contract were revealed today at the signing, and the contract actually appears to be a bit backloaded. Here’s the breakdown of how things are structured.

  • 2018 - $22.5 million in base salary, $1 million signing bonus, $500,000 workout bonus. Total salary cap hit of $24 million.
  • 2019 - $27.5 million in base salary, $1 million signing bonus, $500,000 workout bonus. Total salary cap hit of $29 million.
  • 2020 - $29.5 million in base salary, $1 million signing bonus, $500,000 workout bonus. Total salary cap hit of $31 million.

There are also incentives in the deal that could make the whole package worth as much as $90 million.

With the signing, according to the folks from Over the Cap, the Vikings still have $27.3 million of cap space remaining for this year. With approximately $5 million needed to sign draft picks, that still leaves a decent chunk of change for Rick Spielman and company to work with. The team could still do some restructuring this season as well to free up more space for anything they might want to do, and there will always be contracts that can be done going forward.

As a percentage of the salary cap, Cousins’ contract certainly isn’t a killer or anything, I don’t think. If you use the base salary cap figure of $177 million for this season, Cousins accounts for approximately 13.6% of the team’s salary cap for this year. If you figure an increase of $10 million per season over the next two years, he will account for 15.5% of the Vikings’ salary cap in 2019 and 15.7% of the cap in 2020. Again, those are fairly high percentages, but not out of line with other quarterbacks throughout the league.

Over the Cap tells us that, the way things are structured right now, Cousins’ cap hit for 2018 is tied for sixth-highest in the league with Drew Brees. He currently has the third-highest quarterback cap number for 2019, and the second-highest in 2020. However, between now and then, there are going to be players that get extensions and new contracts that will blow Cousins’ deal out of the water, which will probably make this deal look even better in a couple of seasons.

The Vikings have given themselves stability at the quarterback position for at least the next three seasons, and they have done so in a way that isn’t going to completely annihilate the team’s salary structure over that time. But, this is what we’ve come to expect from Rob Brzezinski and the cap magicians in the Vikings’ financial offices.