April 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Kirk Cousins' contract with the Falcons has been terminated

Kirk Cousins' contract with the Falcons has been terminated

The Atlanta Falcons have signed Kirk Cousins, barring a dramatic last-minute reversal before free agency actually begins on Wednesday. With the talented player receiving a four-year, $180 million deal, fans were naturally eager to see the structure and whether or not that was true. In reality A contract of four years or less.

Now we have the terminology and structure defined, Thanks to Spotrac, and he can delve deeper into understanding what the Falcons have already provided to the Cousins. Let's do it now.

First, this is the actual structure at a high level.

2024: Hit the cap of $25 million

2025: Hit the cap of $40 million

2026: Cap reached $57.5 million ($25 million dead money)

2026: Cap reached $57.5 million ($12.5 million dead money)

So what do we know about this contract?

It's effectively a two-year deal

In Year 1, Cousins ​​will be counted against the cap at up to $25 million. That number will likely stabilize as the cap hit halfway to somewhere between 14th and 18th among NFL quarterbacks. Considering that the Falcons expect Cousins ​​to play as a top-10 player on the border, something he was on pace to do last year, this is a very reasonable hit.

That number for 2025 is inflated, but it will be closer to 10th-high than fifth when all is said and done, and the Falcons will have more cap space to play with next year. The net effect is that the Falcons pay Cousins ​​well but not at, say, the top-five level in 2024 and 2025, when they clearly expect to field a contending team. Cousins' strokes will make it easier to do this.

The $57.5 million cap hit and significant reduction in dead money in 2026 and 2027 tell you the Falcons are treating this contract as a two-year deal. This is wise, given that Cousins ​​will be 38 years old by 2026, more on that in a moment.

See also  Jaylon Johnson and Eddie Jackson Bears trade would hurt Darnell Mooney - NBC Sports Chicago

Falcons value short-term success and flexibility

This should be obvious, given the above, but the Falcons will be concerned about winning right now and will be concerned about replacing Cousins ​​and their cap picture starting in 2026. They will have several contracts that will be taken off the books at that year and a chance to escape a Cousins ​​deal if they want to, but that's a problem for future Terry Fontenot.

I've written this before and I'll write it again, but this franchise is hell-bent on winning now. Arthur Blank is getting older and has now seen his team lose six straight seasons, so he's not ready to wallow in mediocre seasons. Fontenot kept his job in the front office but would not survive two more seasons of mediocrity from the Falcons. Nor did Morris work his way up the head coaching ranks again to coach a lousy team that would get him fired for the next three seasons. There is a bottom-to-bottom alignment here and the message is clear: the Falcons have to be a winning football team, they have to be a playoff team, and they have to at least be on track to be one of the toughest teams in the NFC.

This is why the Falcons signed Cousins ​​and why they structured the deal the way they have. Cousins ​​was the best and most established quarterback available in free agency, as well as the type of accurate, capable quarterback operating within the system that new offensive coordinator Zach Robinson wanted in Atlanta. By giving him a midway cap hit in 2024 and a pricey but non-top-five finish in 2025, the Falcons retain enough cap space to shore up the team around him and set themselves up to push hard to win the NFC South the next two seasons, a window they've invested in at the time. Present. You can question whether giving Cousins ​​that kind of money at his age and newly torn Achilles is a wise investment — I'm not as concerned as many Falcons fans are, but I have legitimate concerns — but the Falcons built this contract to ensure the dollar wouldn't Albatross in 2024 and 2025.

See also  5 stats from the game 5 Mavericks victory over the Jazz

That third year will not be intact in 2026

There's no way the Falcons go into 2026 paying $57.5 million against the cap for Cousins, even if the cap goes up to something as ridiculous as $300 million. The bloated salary tells you the Falcons have put off this thorny issue until tomorrow, but they're fully aware they'll need to deal with it then.

The team will head into this season with three options:

  • Cousins ​​cut. If there is any downside in 2025, the Falcons will hold their noses up and eat $25 million against the cap just to cut ties with the veteran quarterback. If they have a young player coming in, paying a nominal salary plus Cousins' $25 million isn't an unreasonable number, especially if they have a semi-affordable backup plan. They would then have a more manageable dead money of $12.5 million in 2027 before Cousins ​​is taken off the books entirely in 2028.
  • Restructuring the deal. If Cousins ​​still plays well and the Falcons want him, most of the guaranteed money will be done by Year 3 and the team can move on for another year, switch things up, and generally do what it takes to get that cap hit down to $40 million or less again. . They'll cross that bridge when they get to it, but it's a choice.
  • The cousins ​​paid the full amount. This is unlikely to be close to impossible, given how important it is to hit the cap, and it would require the team to have a rosy picture of the cap, view Cousins ​​as an integral piece of the 2026 puzzle, and a desire to save any restructuring options. Or a reduction until 2027. I don't think this is happening.
See also  49ers Notes: Defense dominates again in win over Panthers

Your money should be on Cousins ​​either playing somewhere else (or retiring, I guess) in 2026 or playing under a restructured contract. The Falcons will cross that bridge when they get to it, because again, the money in the first two years is more reasonable.

Cousins ​​cannot be traded

It's not entirely unexpected, but Cousins ​​has a full no-trade clause. If things somehow turn sour and Cousins ​​wants out, he can cede that to a suitor of his choice, but the Falcons are unlikely to get to that point before 2026. And That any team would want to get his max at 38 years old. Don't expect the team to flip him for the duration of this contract, just in case that scenario arises for some reason in the next couple of years.

What are your thoughts on the structure of the Cousins ​​contract?