Kirk Cousins’ Price Tag Projected at $51M Per Season After Salary Cap Increase

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
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Prior to the NFL combine this week, the league offices dropped a salary cap bombshell on agents and front offices everywhere when they announced that the 2024 salary cap would jump all the way to $255.4 million, a $30+ million increase from 2023 and over $10 million more than what was originally projected.

At first, we weren’t sure how the surprise increase would directly affect the contract and trade discussions already underway around the league, but Vikings fans are starting to find out pretty quickly that extra money in the salary cap pool could change their future quite drastically.

Related: Kirk Cousins Posts Strategically Timed Workout Videos Before NFL Combine

It has already been reported that Justin Jefferson’s agent is expected to ask for more money now that there’s more cap money available. That’s part of what’s lead to the increased trade chatter surrounding JJ recently.

Kirk Cousins price tag up to $51 million per season?

kirk cousins
Photo: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, one of ESPN’s top insiders, Bill Barnwell, took a look at the QB market and what kind of suitors Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins might have, should he reach said market next month.

Related: ESPN Get Up Boldly Predicts Vikings Will Trade Justin Jefferson and Let Kirk Cousins Walk

Barnwell names the Broncos, Bucs, Falcons and Raiders as the most obvious suitors, but says the Steelers, Titans, Dolphins and Seahawks could all be interested in Kirk too. After the salary cap increase, Barnwell projects Cousins’ new average annual salary to be $51 million per season, $6 million more than the highest projection we’ve seen to date.

Any team hoping to win over the next three years that isn’t in position to land one of the top starters in the 2024 draft should be trying to pursue Cousins. That’s a group that includes the Broncos, Buccaneers, Falcons, Raiders, Steelers and Titans, with the Dolphins and Seahawks as outside candidates if they move on from their current starters. Some of those teams will opt for longer shots in the draft, but if Cousins’ recovery is on track, he should be able to get one more significant deal as a 35-year-old free agent.

Average annual salary projection: $51 million per season

Bill Barnwell – ESPN

Now, if the Vikings saw the increased salary cap the same way Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson’s agents do, this wouldn’t be a big deal. The agents believe their clients should get the same percentage of Minnesota’s salary cap, no matter how much that total salary cap number is. But it seems unlikely that’s how it will go.

Related: Vikings Plant Seed with Patriots Over Possible Trade for No. 3 Overall Pick

In fact, it could push the Vikings to do the opposite. Is it possible that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah sees that extra salary cap space as making it easier to fit, not Kirk Cousins’ new contract, but his $28.5 million dead cap hit instead? I wouldn’t rule it out.

With the NFL scouting combine starting this week, we will start to hear more concrete information about what the Minnesota Vikings plan to do with Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Danielle Hunter and the rest of their offseason question marks.

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