Matthew Stafford signed a monster contract extension with the Detroit Lions, making him the highest paid player in NFL history. Reports show that the quarterback's new contract will pay him a $50 million signing bonus and guarantees $92 million.

The dollar amounts are staggering. Stafford is a good quarterback, 29 years old and took the Lions to the playoffs last season. He's also quite durable, not missing a game since 2010. In 109 starts for the Lions, he's passed for over 30,000 yards.


All that said, Detroit hasn't won much. Their playoff success is non-existent. 

So what does the Stafford deal mean for Redskins QB Kirk Cousins? Depends how you look at things. 

Due to terms of the franchise tag, the Redskins are unable to negotiate with Cousins until after this season. That means the Stafford deal, and perhaps any subsequent contract extensions for Matt Ryan or even Aaron Rodgers, will only continue to drive up the quarterback marketplace.

QBs will get paid, no matter what. And that helps Cousins. 

Next season, the Redskins will face a real decision about what to do with their passer. Through two offseason negotiating periods, the team and player have done very little actual negotiating. Before the 2016 season, the organization made only lowball offers. Before the 2017 season, the Redskins made the lowest possible reasonable offer, and the Cousins camp refused to counter. 

It would be naive to suggest the two sides have much momentum towards a long-term deal, now or in the past. 


Could that change? Sure. Cousins has repeatedly said he wants to play his whole career in Washington. While the sentiment is nice, it probably will change if he hits the free agent market next year.

The Redskins can prevent that, of course, with an unprecedented third straight franchise tag. The cost would be an exorbitant $34 million, but remember, a second straight franchise tag seemed out of the realm of possibility too. If Washington insists on keeping Cousins, that is the only sure fire way to do so.

Other options still include the transition tag, which would pay Cousins about $28 million next season. That would also allow the QB to talk with other teams and shop his services, then the Redskins could match another club's offer. Should Cousins walk, the 'Skins get no compensation. 

The possibility also exists that Cousins hits free agency and finds the market is not near the values created by the franchise tags the last two seasons. Drew Brees will also be a free agent next season, and the 2018 QB draft class is expected to be quite strong. 

Cousins has been good for the Redskins, but not on the level of Stafford. His passing yardage in 2016 was impressive, but his best stretch of football came late in the 2015 season when he brought the Redskins to an NFC East title. He never quite hit that same level for a consistent stretch last year. 

There also aren't enough good quarterbacks to go around, and the Redskins know that as well. The numbers seem outrageous, but the salary cap will also increase.

Stafford's new deal drives up the marketplace for top quarterbacks. That much is certain.

What will happen between the Redskins and Kirk Cousins is anything but that.


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