How Much Is Kirk Cousins Worth? Redskins QB About to Hit Free Agent Market

Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins passes in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field. Getty Images

Free agent season in the NFL is less than a month away, and Kirk Cousins' name tops the priority list for a number of franchises.

Although players can't officially sign deals until March 14, teams will be allowed to speak to free agents and their representatives from two days earlier. Also, a lot of unofficial negotiations will be conducted at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next week.

Cousins is arguably the pick of this year's free agent class and his representative, Mike McCartney, will in all likelihood be a very busy man next month.

It could hardly be otherwise, given the Washington Redskins' quarterback had an excellent season last term, throwing for 4,093 yards, with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Washington has from February 20 to March 6 to slap a transition or franchise tag on one of their players, as they did with Cousins for the last two seasons.

Repeating the process would prevent the quarterback from becoming an unrestricted free agent, but the chances of that happening look increasingly slim as the Illinois native has not reached a long-term extensions with the Redskins.

Additionally, as per the Washington Post, Cousins has reportedly said he will file a grievance through the NFL players' union in a bid to force his way out of the capital.

However, Cousins might not have to travel too far to find his next team, with the New York Jets reportedly leading the race for his signature.

According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, the Jets are willing to pay "whatever it takes" to lure the 29-year-old to the MetLife Stadium ahead of next year.

The New York-based franchise leads the race for Cousins largely thanks to an enviable financial position that, according to, currently sees it boasting $73.2m in salary-cap space.

The Jets could strengthen their finances even further if, as expected, they cut Muhammad Wilkerson and Matt Forte. Cutting the pair would push the cap space to $92m, after the Jets cleared a further $4.6m by opting against picking up their $500,000 option on Ben Ijalana on Monday.

The franchise's financial flexibility means it has different options to lure Cousins to New York. The consensus seems to be the 29-year-old will sign a five-year deal worth more than the annual $27.5m the San Francisco 49ers have just tied Jimmy Garoppolo to, but sources quoted by the New York Post have suggested the Jets could offer Cousins an eye-watering $60m in the first year of his contract.

That would allow them to retain approximately $30m of salary cap room this year and the chance to build around Cousins with lower cap figures in the short-term future.

A different option, albeit one almost unheard of as far as long-term deals in the NFL are concerned, would see the Jets guarantee the entire contract, as reported by Pro Football Talk last week.

Intriguingly, Cousins' agent also represents the Jets' Josh McCown, who is set to become a free agent himself. The future of both players could be discussed in Indianapolis next week.

However, if New York's financial muscle puts it in an enviable position, given only the Cleveland Browns have more projected cap space than the Jets, it still might not be enough to secure Cousins.

During a series of interviews at the Super Bowl, the Redskins' quarterback reiterated his desire to move to a franchise that could guarantee him instant success. That has led to speculations over him joining the Denver Broncos or the Minnesota Vikings, which are projected to have $26.8m and $49m in salary cap space respectively.

However, while the Vikings could be an attractive propositions after reaching the NFC Championship game last season, the Broncos had the same 5-11 record shared by the Jets.