With the final four teams in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes named by Adam Schefter, we are starting to get some rumors on what the star quarterback will be seeking on the contract side of things. And it’s a lot.
Hearing Cousins is looking for 3 years $90M gtd. https://t.co/h2Ny3vC8Au— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) March 3, 2018
Three years and $90 million guaranteed is a big commitment. By nearly every statistical measure and every situational stat one could use, Cousins is worth that kind of money. Over the last three seasons he ranked top five in most of those categories, but at least top ten in the rest.
His one playoff appearance is not really a concern as Drew Brees had just one playoff appearance until his sixth season. Sometimes a great quarterback needs to move on from a crap franchise before they can get over the “winning” hump.
With the Denver Broncos competing with the Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Jets, it may come down to whether or not Cousins wants to take a discount to play for a contender. If he sticks to the above numbers, I think that puts the Vikings out of contention, which would put the Broncos as the most likely landing spot.
Broncos Salary Cap
The biggest concern Broncos fans will have is around the salary cap. Will signing Cousins to a 3-year deal assuming a $30 million a year cap hit hamstring the franchise moving forward?
2018 Cap Info
We already know the Broncos intend to keep their wide receiver corps, but John Elway has been wishy washy on both C.J. Anderson and Aqib Talib. In fact, the Broncos have already been reported to be expected to sign a number three cornerback in free agency, so we can assume Talib is gone and Anderson is a likely cut as well.
Trevor Siemian is rumored to be on the trade block and I would expect Menelik Watson to be a Post-June 1 cut as well. Max Garcia is another guy I would expect gets released at some point as the cap space is needed this offseason.
All of those moves would free up $46.5 million in cap space. Assuming the following for other required expenditures: $5.35M to sign draft picks, $4.6M to tender Restricted Free Agents, and $1M to tender Exclusive Rights Free Agents. That leaves just $35.55M in cap space to sign Cousins and other free agents.
Either they would need to fudge Cousins contract to reduce the hit or free up some cap space in other areas. Otherwise, 2018 will be a bit tight on cap space.
2019-20 Cap Info
This is where it gets less predictable. 2019 is the final contract year for both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, so major decisions have to be made there. On the defensive side, both Derek Wolfe and Chris Harris Jr. will also enter the final year of their contracts.
With Cousins on the roster, the Broncos would have just $40 million in cap space to work with and a lot of roster to fill with just 28-40 players under contract at that point, assuming they keep their 10 draft picks and pick up a few more free agents.
Frankly, 2019 doesn’t look that bad. If they extend both Thomas and Harris, it makes things a heck of a lot easier on the cap. Everything John Elway does will determine how well things are setup in 2020, but the cap rising at incredible rates, I just can’t see how this Cousins signing will hamper the franchise in any way over the next three seasons.
The only year things will be tight will be this year, but with most of their team under contract they should be able to swing a Cousins deal without hurting their roster outside of losing Talib.
The short-term demands on the contract actually helps the Broncos in how they like to plan for the future.
Are you comfortable with Kirk Cousins joining the Broncos at 3-yrs w/ $90M in guarantees?
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