The San Francisco 49ers have set the market for the rest of the NFL’s quarterbacks.
On Thursday, the 49ers agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million deal with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who they acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots last year. The deal gives him the highest average annual salary in the NFL. That is, until the next QB signs.
Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and any QB who's about to be paid in the near future thank Jimmy Garoppolo.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 8, 2018
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will hit the free agent market at the beginning of the year as long as the team doesn’t franchise tag him and look for a trade. They dealt for Alex Smith earlier this offseason and signed him to a deal worth a reported $94 million with $71 million guaranteed.
With Cousins squarely in his prime – and after three strong years as Washington’s starter – there’s a good chance someone will pony up top dollar. Garoppolo won all five of his starts last year and posted a 96.2 rating. Over the last three years, Cousins has a 97.5 rating.
The Minnesota Vikings are in the mix for Cousins. All three of their quarterbacks – Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum and Sam Bradford – are set to be free agents when the new league year begins. The question is not so much whether the Vikings could fit a huge contract for Cousins under their cap, but whether they would want to invest that much into him as their franchise QB.