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Need to Know: What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?

Need to Know: What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 16, 11 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 196 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 56 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 1
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 25
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 48

What would constitute a “fair” offer to Kirk Cousins?

There has been a lot of talk about the Redskins making a “fair” offer on a long-term contract for Kirk Cousins to avoid having their quarterback play out the year on the franchise tag. But exactly what would be a fair offer for Cousins’ services for five years?

Let’s look at some possible deals in terms of the most talked number, the average annual value.

$26 million AAV—This would make Cousins the highest-paid player in NFL history. Nobody would argue that he is anywhere near the best player in the NFL (his No. 70 rank in the NFL Top 100 is in the ballpark). This may or may not get a deal done but if the offer had something like $50 million fully guaranteed at signing it would be a very fair offer, perhaps even generous.

$24 million AAV—A contract such as this would make Cousins the fourth highest paid quarterback. In a few years, he might get pushed out of the very top tier but he still would be in or near the top 10 in terms of AAV for most of the life of the contract. This would be a little low and it wouldn’t recognize the leverage that he has but it still would be a fair offer.

$23 million AAV—This is hometown discount territory. Along with this the Redskins would have to guarantee a disproportionate chunk of the deal at signing (perhaps as much as $60 million). Along with this offer, there would have to be a hard sell on the advantages of Cousins staying in Washington with the system that has made him successful. At this level. we would be looking at a fair offer by the Redskins that Cousins could reasonably turn down. He still would be the No. 4 in QB pay but Cousins’ camp could very easily make the case that they have the leverage to get more.

$22 million AAV—Now we are getting into the range where the offer is at least borderline unfair. Sure, Aaron Rodgers’ deal has a $22 million AAV but the cap was $43 million lower when he signed that deal in 2013. He will almost certainly get a substantial raise in a year or two. This might be OK as a starting point if they are willing to give some ground but as a final offer it would not reflect Cousins’ market value unless it has some crazy provision like being fully guaranteed.

$20 million AAV—This is the amount of the last offer that has been reported, which came around the time of the NFL Combine in late February. This is too low even as a starting point and it would not be a fair offer. Cousins would be the 14th-highest paid quarterback and subsequent contracts for Matthew Stafford, Marcus Mariota, and Jameis Winston and others would push him out of the top 20 by the time the contract was half over.

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

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