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Contract projection puts Redskins' Cousins near the top in pay

Contract projection puts Redskins' Cousins near the top in pay

After Kirk Cousins’ big game against the Packers on national television, the quarterback’s contract status for 2017 has become a topic of national conversation. One thing that everyone agrees on is that the five-year veteran in his second full season as a starter is going to get paid.

And he should. Since becoming a starter, even counting his “slow” start prior to the “You like that!” comeback win over the Bucs, Redskins are 15-10-1. The team’s defense and running game have not been outstanding. Cousins has completed 68 percent of his passes for an average of 7.8 per attempt with 46 touchdowns and no interceptions and a passer rating of 100.4. His full resume at this point is not that of an elite quarterback at this point but those are elite numbers.


Some think that it is not a slam dunk that Cousins will be back with the Redskins next year, that some in the organization believe that Cousins’ numbers are the result of Jay Gruden’s offensive system and a talented group of receivers. The theory is that they can get comparable production from another quarterback for a lot less money.

I think it’s hard to imagine that the Redskins will let Cousins walk in 2017 especially when they have the option to use the franchise tag on him again for $24 million. I’m not going to rule it out but I think it’s unlikely. But let’s leave the tag aside for the moment and go on the premise that he will sign a long-term deal with the Redskins at some point next year.

We are starting to get some thoughts on what “getting paid” will look like if Cousins signs a new deal. Spotrac, a website that tracks and projects player deals in most major sports, tweeted out this chart outlining their projection of Cousins’ next contract:

(click on the tweet to expand graphic on

The top-line numbers on the deal are $115 million over five years, an average of $23 million per year. Total guarantees are $62.5 million with a $23 million signing bonus and a total of $40 million fully guaranteed at signing. The prosed deal would have Cousins under contract through the 2021 season, when Cousins will be 33 years old.

The proposed deal doesn’t have any easy exit points. It looks like they could let him go after the 2019 season with a dead cap hit of $17 million or after 2020 for “only” $12 million in dead cap.

The cap hits of $31.25 million in the last two years of the deal look alarming but they’re not. It would be about 15 percent of a 2020 salary cap that early projections have at around $205 million. An equivalent cap hit under today’s $155 million spending limit is around $23 million. It’s a bit of a squeeze but not unmanageable.

Besides, I don’t see the Redskins squeezing a $115 million deal into a cap hit of just $7 million in 2017. They are going to have at least $60 million in cap space available next year. The smarter cap move might be to frontload the contract and make the 2017 cap hit something closer to $20 million by giving Cousins a higher guaranteed salary in the early years instead of the some of the signing bonus, roster bonus, and option bonus.


Except for those few details, numbers like these are going to be on the table starting shortly after the Redskins season ends, whenever that may be. The $23 million per year is about where his market value will be barring a severe slump or a deep playoff run. Yes, it’s higher than the average annual values of all but two quarterbacks, Andrew Luck and Drew Brees. But as the cap goes up and paydays for quarterbacks like Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota come up, and Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning negottiate extensions, Cousins’ deal will not compare as favorably.

We will see if the Redskins are willing to pay up or if they will again go down the rabbit hole chasing after a competent quarterback.

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.