That’s how much money Washington will have given Kirk Cousins if they do not agree on a contract by July 15.

For those counting at home that’s almost $22 million per year.

This is nothing new if you’ve been following Washington. Cousins’ contract negotiations has been an ongoing story since 2015. The Michigan State product was taken the same year as RGIII and, to many, has played himself into a big payday. In 2016 the team offered Cousins a contract that averaged $16-17 million per year but Cousins declined and signed the franchise tag that gave him $19.95 million for one year. If Cousins and the team can’t reach a long term deal then he will sign another franchise tag for a little north of $22 million for the season.

Since the beginning of these negotiations Cousins has watched his peers cash in.

Andrew Luck singed a six-year, $140 million contract with $87 million in guarantees and averages $23.3 million per season.

Drew Brees signed a five-year extension (which in reality, is only two years) that will pay $44.25 million in guarantees and averages $22.13 million per year.

Joe Flacco signed a three-year extension worth $66.4 million and $44 million in guarantees. He averages $22.1 million in annual salary.

Most recently Derek Carr signed a massive five-year, $125 million that will average $25 million per year.

It’s moments like these where I question my current career path.

Cousins can’t help but to want a payday like that. Let’s face it, quarterbacks reign supreme and they earn top dollar, even if they are not that good.

Over the past two years Cousins’ stats have been respectable, hence why he’s asking for a massive raise. During the 2015-2017 seasons he’s averaged a 68.4% CMP, 4,542 YDS, 27 TDS, 12 INT, and a 99.4 Rating. On paper any GM would be happy to shell out big money for those stats.

Reality is something different, though.

During the 2016 season Cousins had many opportunities to throw the ball down the field and didn’t. That’s probably why DeSean Jackson made a mad dash to Tampa Bay after becoming a free agent. Washington has surrounded Kirk with numerous weapons and his hesitancy to throw downfield has left many fans and coaches confused.

The biggest red flag against Cousins is his record against top notch opponents.

Cousins record against teams with 8+ wins is 5-13. His record against teams with 9+ wins is an atrocious 2-11.

Oddly enough, in this scenario both sides are correct. Washington is right in that they don’t want to break the bank paying a guy who can’t beat good teams and Cousins is right that he’s earned a new contract. Cousins has all of the leverage in this situation because even mediocre quarterbacks are hard to come by. If Cousins reaches free agency you can rest soundly knowing that some team is going to throw bags of money at him.

The next question is, what’s next for Washington? They’ve made it clear that they would rather pay him $20+ million for a couple of years instead of paying that amount long term.

From the outside it seems like they’re stealing a play from a rival’s playbook.

Last year Dak Prescott came into the league and played exceptionally well. Dallas surrounded him with elite talent and asked him to manage the game after Romo was injured. Dak went above and beyond those requests but the plan is still a great one to follow. Washington is in the process of building an elite offense that a game manger would blend well with.

I doubt that another Dak walks into the league but the 2018 draft has already been dubbed, “the year of the quarterback.” If Washington finds themselves drafting in the late teens again it’s not impossible to think they can jump up and grab their guy or wait it out and see who is left.

If Washington’s season gets off to a rocky start then they can be proactive and trade Cousins for a small ransom. It’s been reported that Cousins wants to join his former offensive coordinator, and current 49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan. Don’t be shocked if the Niners new, wheeling dealing GM, Jon Lynch strikes a deal to get Shanahan’s guy.

A lot can happen between now and the 2018 draft but the only certainty is that this story has a lot of juice left.

As always, thanks for reading.

Tweet me: @mattgarrett41


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