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Andrew Luck’s deal means nothing for Kirk Cousins


In the wake of the new contract signed by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, plenty of questions have been asked about the ramifications for the team that picked a pair of quarterbacks the same year in which Luck landed in Indy.

With 2012 second overall pick Robert Griffin III long gone and 2012 fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins operating under the franchise tag for 2016, does Luck’s new six-year, $139.125 million deal have any relevance to Cousins? The short answer is no.

Here’s a longer answer, because otherwise this would be a pretty short blurb.

Under the franchise tag, Cousins already has $19.95 million for 2016 in the bank. If Washington tags him again in 2017, he’ll get a 20-percent raise. That pushes the tag to $23.94 million, for a total of $43.89 million over two years. If Washington tags Cousins a third time, his pay for 2018 would increase by 44 percent, to $34.47 million.

In all, that’s a three-year haul of $78.36 million over three years -- which is more than the $75 million that Luck will make over the next three years.

Of course, whether Washington would tag Cousins again in 2017 and once again in 2018 remains to be seen; the decisions will be driven in large part by how Cousins performs this year and next year. But if Washington ever would choose not to tag Cousins, who completed 69.8 percent of his passes with 34 total touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2015, he’d hit the open market, and his value would be determined there.

That could result in a significant payday from a team desperate for a potential franchise quarterback, as evidenced by the money that was thrown around early in free agency four months ago for still-unproven players like Brock Osweiler, Olivier Vernon, and Janoris Jenkins.

So Cousins will get $78.36 million over the next three years under the tag or finagle the ultimate wild card of hitting the open market on the first day of free agency, unless Washington gives him a reason to trade in that either/or proposition. Whether Andrew Luck emerged with an average value of $23.18 million or $25 million or $30 million on his new deal, the only question relevant to Cousins is what he will take in exchange for three-years/$78.36 million or a shot at the open market -- and what Washington will offer in order to get him to do it.