The Redskins tried. Kinda.
Team president Bruce Allen revealed terms of the Redskins' largest contract offer to Kirk Cousins on Monday, and while the team guaranteed $53 million, the quarterback turned it down.
"On May 2nd, right after the draft, we made Kirk an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury. The deal would have made him at least the second highest-paid player by average per year in NFL history," Allen said.
The figure — $53 million — seems staggering. In reality, however, the offer constituted the bare minimum of guaranteed cash that Cousins would even consider.
He’s due to make $24 million this year, fully guaranteed, on the franchise tag. In 2018, if the Redskins placed the lower-costing transition tag on Cousins, he would make $28 million, again fully guaranteed.
That adds up to $52 million, or just one million less than the Redskins offer.
Breaking down the numbers further (based on reports that the total offer was 5 years, $110 million extension after the 2017 season) means that Cousins would actually make less in 2019 and beyond than he's making now.
#Redskins best offer for Kirk Cousins was a 5-yr extension worth less than $110M, I'm told. With $24M in '17, it's 6 yrs, $133M - or Flacco— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 17, 2017
Using those figures, Cousins would make $24 million in 2017, $28 million in 2018, and then the salary drops to about $20 million for the remaining years of the deal. No chance Cousins is going backwards in salary as the cap will continue to rise over time.
Cousins and his representatives understand how close he is to free agency, and the opportunity to make loads and loads more in guaranteed money. To give up that potential would have taken a significant offer from the Redskins, and significantly more than $53 million guaranteed.
It is telling that Cousins made no counter offers.
It could be that the quarterback wants out of Washington. It could be that the quarterback wants to hit free agency. It could be both, and it could be neither.
Don't forget too that the Redskins might have been willing to go up in negotiations. The problem? Cousins never negotiated.
Regardless, Cousins made clear he is comfortable playing on a one-year deal. The Redskins didn’t offer nearly enough for him to change his mind.