Former Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins plans to sign 3-year, $84M deal with Minnesota Vikings on Thursday


Former Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins plans to sign a three-year, fully guaranteed $84 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The landmark deal will make Cousins the highest-paid quarterback in the league.

“No final decisions have been made,” Cousins’ agent Mike McCartney said Tuesday. “The plan is to visit Minnesota first. That’s all we can say right now.”

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin tweeted that Cousins is a “hero” for other young players in getting a fully guaranteed contract.

Cousins, 29, has been one of the NFL’s most productive quarterbacks since becoming the Redskins’ full-time starter three years ago. During that time, he’s ranked fourth in passing yards, sixth in passer rating, seventh in Total QBR and eighth in touchdown passes.

In 2017 Cousins topped the 4,000-yard mark for the third straight season. He finished with 4,093 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions — and a Total QBR of 52.3, his lowest as the full-time starter.

The 2012 fourth-round pick went from the backup to Robert Griffin III to a productive starter during his time in Washington. He started nine games in his first three seasons. In 2015, his first year as the starter, he helped lead the Redskins to the NFC East title by throwing 23 touchdowns to three interceptions over the final 10 games — starting with the “You like that?!” comeback win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He finished that season with 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a franchise-record 4,166 yards.

After that season, the Redskins and Cousins couldn’t agree on a long-term deal, so the team placed the franchise tag on him. Cousins responded by again breaking the franchise record with 4,917 passing yards to go along with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. But the Redskins missed the playoffs by losing their regular-season finale at home to the New York Giants.

That led to yet another franchise tag, as Cousins told the Redskins he wasn’t ready to commit long term and wanted to gauge the direction of the franchise. It was clear by season’s end that both sides wanted to avoid another one-year tag situation. Rather than negotiate a final time with Cousins, the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on Jan. 30, agreeing to a four-year extension with the veteran.

Cousins heads to Minnesota, where the Vikings are coming off a 13-3 regular season with an appearance in the NFC title game. Last year’s starter, Case Keenum, the quarterback who stepped in for an injured Sam Bradford early in the 2017 season, is expected to sign with the Broncos when free agency officially opens Wednesday afternoon.

Along with Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater is also a free agent after spending eight weeks as the team’s No. 2 quarterback before being deactivated for the playoffs in favor of Bradford.

Cousins inherits a roster built around the league’s top-ranked defense in the regular season with a plethora of weapons on offense. Both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen return for another season in which they’ll vie to be the NFL’s top receiving duo. The Vikings backfield also could become one of the league’s best behind the return of Dalvin Cook, who is recovering from a torn ACL, and Latavius Murray.

Cousins’ potential signing with Vikings moved Minnesota’s Super Bowl LIII odds from 16-1 to 12-1 (tied with Green Bay for fourth best) at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

New England is the favorite at 5-1, with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia next at 7-1.

ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin contributed to this report.

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