NFL Cap Expert: Jimmy Garoppolo Deal Is The Floor For Kirk Cousins

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 07, 2018 - 9:40 am

In February, Jimmy Garoppolo became the highest-paid player in the NFL, this after signing a five-year, $137.5 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers. That’s $27.5 million per year, with $74 million fully guaranteed.

Kirk Cousins will beat that.

“If Jimmy Garoppolo – after five starts in San Francisco and two in New England – can become the highest-paid player in the league at $27.5 million a year, you’re setting that as your initial floor,” former NFL agent and current CBS Sports NFL salary-cap and contract expert Joel Corry said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I always said that if Cousins didn’t turn into Brock Osweiler in 2017, he could be the first $30 million-per-year player in the NFL with upwards to $100 million overall in guarantees and $65-70 (million) fully guaranteed at signing. Nothing has changed to alter my thinking.”



While some analysts don’t believe Cousins is an elite quarterback who can carry a team, his numbers over the last three seasons suggest he is very much a top-10 quarterback. Since 2015, Cousins has averaged 4,392 passing yards per season, accounted for 94 touchdowns (81 pass, 13 rush) to 36 interceptions, and never missed a game.

The Broncos, Vikings, Jets and Cardinals are all reportedly interested in the 29-year-old. Of those four, New York is in the best position financially to offer Cousins a mega-deal.

“They have about $85 million in salary-cap space,” Corry said. “That’s far and above more than anybody else. The team that’s in the worst position, the Cardinals, (have) slightly over $20 million in cap space. The team which is in the best position to win is Minnesota. They lost in the NFC Championship Game and have about $50 million in cap space.”

Cap space, Corry pointed out, is fluid and can change drastically year-to-year.

“You can do a deal with a small cap number for Kirk Cousins in 2018, kind of like Miami did with Ndamukong Suh,” Corry said. “You might have a ballooning cap number the second year and have to restructure the deal – and you’d be kicking the can down the road by doing that with your cap obligation. So I wouldn’t rule out any number of those four teams because you can structure a deal any number of ways.”