Kirk Cousins is going to get a whole lot of money in free agency and probably even break records for the largest contract in NFL history. Plenty of teams can afford to give Cousins a huge deal, but the New York Jets are reportedly gearing up to take that to another level.
First, Pro Football Talk reported the Jets could aim to give Cousins a fully guaranteed deal. Now, according to the New York Post, they could consider front-loading a mammoth deal for Cousins with a $60 million cap hit in the first year of the contract.
Jimmy Garoppolo set the record for the largest cap hit in a single year in NFL history with his $37 million hit for 2018. That’s easily the most ever and the first over $30 million — topping the upcoming $26.5 million hit for Matthew Stafford in 2018. But the Jets could consider setting the bar so ludicrously high that it make take a decade to reach.
It’s not a terrible idea for the Jets. Here’s why:
On the surface, it sounds like a dumb move for the Jets to commit more than one-third of the salary cap to a quarterback with a 26-30-1 record as a starter. And if Cousins doesn’t live up to the free agency hype, whichever team signs him will be remembered for a historic whiff.
But if the Jets aim to win the Cousins sweepstakes, a $60 million cap hit could be a creative way to weed out competition. Several franchises have room to make a deal with Cousins, but that much money up front is something no other team can do except the Cleveland Browns.
It really wouldn’t tank the Jets, either. The team has more than $70 million in space for 2018 and will probably free up a lot more by releasing Muhammad Wilkerson. Eating $60 million in year one is a lot, but the cap hits could be much more manageable in later years.
Of course, it depends on how much the finances play into Cousins’ decision. If Cousins is looking to join a winner, the Jets probably won’t be his first choice. The Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Minnesota Vikings would all probably be higher on the list.
But if he’s aiming for more guaranteed money and large amounts early in a deal, the Jets have the tools to climb to the top of the race for Cousins.