Kirk Cousins Deal Shows Why Free Agency Is the Stupid Season in the NFL

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterMarch 13, 2018

FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2017, file photo, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, in East Rutherford, N.J. The NFL's offseason features plenty of intrigue beyond where Kirk Cousins and dozens of other quarterbacks will land.  (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

The Minnesota Vikings got played.

There's no other way to say it. They agreed to give Kirk Cousins, an average quarterback, a fully guaranteed three-year deal, a source confirmed to Bleacher Report.

Cousins is a solid player who will make the Vikings better, but he is also remarkably flawed. He plays down to his competition and isn't the type of quarterback who can put a team on his back. He makes too many unforced errors.

Yet he is capable, and in this free-agent marketin this time in league historycapable gets you a megadeal. Capable allows you to fleece a team the way Cousins just did. 

Yep, the Vikings got played. And they know it.

The Vikings know it because they realize they're in an arms race. The NFC North has Aaron Rodgers, who is so good he rides across the galaxy on a surfboard; Matt Stafford, who is good enough; and Mitchell Trubisky, who showed tremendous potential last season as a rookie.

Minnesota needed to keep up, even if it is dramatically overpaying to do so. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Vikes will give Cousins roughly $86 million over the course of his three-year deal.

The Cousins contract is emblematic of how free agency is the NFL's stupid season. At no other point in the year do teams become so scared, bold, shortsighted and idiotic.

Washington, the crown champions of the stupid season for decades, agreed to give wide receiver Paul Richardson a five-year, $40 million deal with $20 million in guarantees, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. That's an almost unseemly sum for a player averaging fewer than 30 receiving yards per game over the course of his career.

The Chiefs agreed to give receiver Sammy Watkins a three-year, $48 million contract with $30 million guaranteed, according to Rapoport. And Sam Bradford agreed to a one-year deal with the Cardinals worth $20 million, Rapoport tweeted, with an option year at $20 million.

After making 39 catches last season for the Rams, Sammy Watkins signed a deal worth reportedly almost $50 million with the Chiefs.
After making 39 catches last season for the Rams, Sammy Watkins signed a deal worth reportedly almost $50 million with the Chiefs.Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Given Bradford's injury history, that'll be about $10 million per start.

If the players can get these deals, good for them. Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin's made that point Tuesday on Twitter:

We're unfortunately far from that, but we are in a place where teams seem more desperate and excessive than ever. Right now, the entire NFL is that GIF in which Scrooge McDuck dives into a pile of gold.

Yes, Minnesota got played, but everyone is playing everyone in free agency these days.

The Vikings are overpaying Cousins for a shot at the Super Bowl, and it's hard to blame them. They went to the NFC title game last season. They have a solid running game, some good young receivers and a dominating defense.

If the Vikings can eradicate some of Cousins' flaws and make him more consistent, they can be a force. They could be as much of a contender for the Lombardi Trophy as any team.

But there are no guarantees, and it appears as though the price for gambling on the future is going up, no matter whether the player is truly worthy of the amount of money thrown his way.

Players like that do exist, and for someone like Aaron Rodgers, Tuesday was a good day when you think about what he'll command on his next deal.

Based on what's happening now, his contract will be worth at least a trillion dollars.

Maybe two.

Like we said, it's the stupid season.  

   

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL. 

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