Kirk Cousins wanted stability. The mega deal he signed with the Vikings includes clauses that prevent the Vikings from trading him or applying the transition tag without his consent. However, there is no such line preventing the Vikings from using the franchise tag on Cousins, should it come to that following the 2020 season.
Players have previously negotiated no franchise tag clauses into their contracts, including the Saints’ Drew Brees and the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald. Cousins, who was tagged twice in Washington, explained why he didn’t during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio this week.
In short, because a third franchise tag would guarantee him a roughly $13 million raise.
“My understanding is I can be franchised a third time, but because of the rule change that happened many years ago as a result of a guy like Walter Jones, who was tagged several times at a flat rate, it will be a 44 percent bump on my previous year’s salary,” Cousins said.
General manager Rick Spielman made clear, the Vikings view Cousins as the team’s franchise quarterback for the long haul beyond the current three-year contract. But because of Cousins’ contract history, which includes two previous franchise tags from the Washington Redskins, the Vikings are saddled with a hefty 44-percent raise to Cousins if they were the team giving him a third tag.
The Vikings are scheduled to pay Cousins a $29.5 million salary for the 2020 season. If things go well, they’ll more than likely attempt to renegotiate before then. A third franchise tag would cost the Vikings north of $40 million for the 2021 season.
“Which my agent and I felt was high enough we’d be comfortable with that if it happened,” Cousins said.