Vikings cap Cousins welcome party, with $84M guaranteed deal
Published 8:08 am Friday, March 16, 2018
EAGAN — The leverage of free agency in his prime brought Kirk Cousins the market-setting contract with Minnesota.
Now the Vikings have their latest franchise quarterback to try to secure that elusive first Super Bowl victory with.
The Vikings wrapped up their welcome party with an $84 million, three-year contract for Cousins on Thursday afternoon, banking big time on the late-blooming former Washington Redskins prospect to finally stabilize a critical position that’s been infamously problematic.
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“The contract, it is what it is,” Cousins said. “But what my wife and I are thrilled about is the organization we are walking into.”
The money for Cousins is fully guaranteed, the largest such figure in NFL history, at least until the next mega quarterback contract comes along, according to figures tracked by the pro sports financial website spotrac.com. His annual average of $28 million is also, for now, the biggest in the league, at least until the next mega quarterback contract comes along.
Team owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf were willing to approve the investment, hopeful that Cousins can be the keystone to a championship squad.
“If anybody in this city or this state has a question about their commitment, I think this contract shows that they’re all in,” Cousins said. “It’s a tremendous amount of belief in me as a person and as a player, and I’m humbled and honored to get the OK on that.”
The guarantee of the full value of the deal is unprecedented in the NFL, where a variety of complex factors have kept players from receiving sure-thing contracts like their professional baseball, basketball and hockey peers.
His agent, Mike McCartney, began talking to Cousins about the potential for such a groundbreaking deal more than two years ago with the assumption he’d eventually arrive at free agency because of the noncommittal Redskins.
“There’s nothing I can pave unless people come after me,” Cousins said at his introductory news conference at the team’s sparkling and still-under construction suburban headquarters. “I guess history will probably write that.”
Cousins will represent the fourth primary quarterback the Vikings have had in as many seasons. As long as he stays healthy throughout the summer, Cousins will also represent the eighth starting quarterback for a season opener in the past nine years.
Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum all became free agents this week and signed with other teams, so the Vikings didn’t have much of a backup plan if Cousins balked at their offer.