Kirk Cousins Turned Down $90M Guaranteed from Jets Before Signing with Vikings

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2018

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks during a news conference after an NFL preseason football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 21-20. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

Quarterback Kirk Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million, fully guaranteed deal with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason, but he could have signed with the New York Jets for even more.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported in March that Cousins was going to have the process of reaching a decision in free agency filmed, and part one of the series is now available on the Vikings' official website.

Shalise Manza Young of Yahoo Sports broke it down, noting Cousins told his wife, Julie, the Jets offered a fully guaranteed contract of three years and $90 million. Rather than sign it, the Michigan State product explained that his agent, Mike McCartney, could use the offer as leverage and go to the Vikings to get a better deal than the $25 million a year they were offering at the time. 

He ultimately signed the contract that gives him $28 million annually on a fully guaranteed basis, pointing to the ideal fit in Minnesota as one deciding factor.

"We want the money to be guaranteed," Cousins said in the documentary. "My preference would be to get a fully guaranteed contract or do one-year deals."

It presents an interesting "what if" for the Jets considering they haven't reached the postseason since the 2010 campaign and haven't exactly been the model of quarterback consistency in that span. However, they drafted Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick and now have a quarterback of the future to build around as they attempt to establish themselves as contenders.

Cousins signed with a team that was a game away from the Super Bowl last season and is loaded with playmakers and a formidable defense instead. While he left some money on the table with the Jets offer, he is now the primary signal-caller for a team in win-now mode with Lombardi Trophy expectations.

Throwing to Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph while handing it off to Dalvin Cook and watching the Vikings defense go to work on a weekly basis will surely make Cousins feel better about the loss of the additional $6 million he left on the table.

What's more, a Super Bowl trophy would put him in a stronger bargaining position the next time he hits free agency, so that lost money may only be a temporary financial setback.


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