The Minnesota Vikings will make a final say on their future with Kirk Cousins in the offseason and have been urged to avoid overpaying the veteran quarterback.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay weighed Cousins’ performance versus his pay over the course of his career and came to the conclusion: that wherever he lands in free agency in March, that team will overpay.
“The Week 8 injury—which could sideline him for up to nine months—may give some suitors pause, but with how many organizations are in dire need of a passer, it’s almost certain Cousins will cash in with yet another big payday,” Kay wrote.
The Bleacher Report article went on to note Cousins’ regular-season success hasn’t translated to the postseason with just one playoff win in three appearances.
“Cousins, who has piled up a whopping $232 million in career earnings, has a $39.3 million per year Spotrac valuation,” Kay wrote. “His elite play under center during the regular season warrants that type of cash, but it’s going to be difficult for a 36-year-old coming off a devastating injury to get back to playing high level football in his 13th NFL season.
“With Father Time set to inevitably take its toll at some point soon, any big contract for Cousins could wind up being a disaster,” Kay added.
Vikings Have Shown Priority Over Kirk Cousins This Season
The dilemma with signing Cousins to a new deal is Minnesota already has to extend Justin Jefferson atop their list of priorities next offseason.
Jefferson will no longer be cheap starting next season. He’ll enter the fifth-year option of his rookie deal for the 2024 season, worth $19.74 million against the cap. Jefferson is expected to garner a quarterback-type contract, worth over $30 million annually. No matter how that contract is structured, it will be a far cry from his $3.28 million annual cap hit over the past four seasons.
The Vikings offense is full of stars who will garner significant paydays. T.J. Hockenson became the highest-paid tight end in the league when he signed a four-year extension worth up to $68.5 million in August. Jefferson is on his way to being the highest-paid wide receiver, along with Christian Darrisaw who should reset the left tackle market in a few years.
Minnesota’s building an offense that it can plug a rookie quarterback into and roll without the same hitches that many blue-chip prospects face when joining a bottom-five team in the league.
Cousins has never been the quarterback to elevate the offense or overcome a shoddy offensive line. He’s benefited from the sum of his surrounding pieces, which are about to become much more expensive in Minnesota.
The Vikings have made their intentions known about their star talent elsewhere on offense and have yet to commit Cousins.
However, there’s still a chance he will stay in Minnesota.
Vikings Express Interest in Keeping Kirk Cousins — But There’s a Catch
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah gave a clear answer on the expected negotiations the team faces with Cousins.
He applauded Cousins for his 2023 performance and said that every option, including re-signing with the team, is still on the table for the veteran quarterback. Adofo-Mensah even went as far as to state his desire to keep Cousins.
However, Adofo-Mensah has maintained flexibility at the quarterback position is a priority, to the point that the Vikings declined to take a slight discount from Cousins on the terms of a long-term extension.
The Vikings’ terms are very likely the same terms left on the table from this past offseason’s negotiations. The decision to stay or go is ultimately in Cousins’ hands.
“Kirk played great,” Adofo-Mensah said in an October 31 news conference, per the Star Tribune. “I think my want for Kirk to come back isn’t just a me thing. It’s a negotiation. You come together at the table, and you try and see if everything works together, and we’ll have that dialogue when the time comes.”