How much does Kirk Cousins make? A closer look at the Vikings QB’s contract, salary

By | October 11, 2020

Kirk Cousins makes an average annual salary of $28 million to play quarterback for the Vikings. Which, given the going rate for respectable QB play in the NFL, is not an outrageous amount.

The 32-year-old passer signed his current deal with Minnesota in March of 2018 when he reached free agency after six seasons in Washington. Cousins became the NFL’s highest-paid player in terms of average annual salary when he signed his contract with the Vikings, but he since has been surpassed by six other NFL players, all QBs.

MORE: The NFL’s 25 highest-paid players

Cousins’ contract with the Vikings was historic in the sense that it was the first fully guaranteed contract in NFL history — all $84 million across his three-year deal was guaranteed at signing. For Sporting News contributor and former Minnesota general manager Jeff Diamond, the Cousins deal represented the evolution of modern NFL free agency.

Below is all you need to know about that contract. (Figures courtesy of Over The Cap.)

How much does Kirk Cousins make?

Cousins’ contract pays him $84 million over three years for an average of $28 million per year. Below are some key figures in the deal.

  • Average annual salary: $28 million
  • 2020 base salary: $29.5 million
  • Total contract value: $84 million
  • Fully guaranteed: $84 million
  • Percentage of Vikings cap: 15.5%

Cousins had options in 2018 free agency before he signed with Minnesota, as evidenced by a docuseries that featured his journey on the open market.

The Jets offered him a three-year contract that would have paid him $30 million per year and also would have been fully guaranteed. He turned it down to sign with the Vikings for less money.

“I have always felt a little bit underrated, a little bit overlooked.” Cousins said at his introductory news conference in Minnesota. “As a result, there is a fire there.”

Kirk Cousins contract

Below is a table featuring Cousins’ three-year contract with the Vikings, followed by the $6 million in incentives he reportedly can earn.

Year Age Base salary Guaranteed salary Prorated bonus Cap number Cap %
2018 30 $22.5 million $22.5 million $1.5 million $24 million 13.5%
2019 31 $27.5 million $27.5 million $1.5 million $29 million 15.4%
2020 32 $29.5 million $29.5 million $1.5 million $31 million 15.5%

— Win Super Bowl: $500,000

— Win Super Bowl and rank in top eight in points: $1 million

— Win Super Bowl and rank in top five in points: $1.5 million

— Win Super Bowl and rank in top three in points: $2 million

NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks

Of the NFL’s 25 highest-paid players in 2020 in terms of average annual salary, 17 are QBs. That includes the top 11, as Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins is the league’s highest paid non-QB.

Cousins ranks seventh on that list with his average annual salary of $28 million. Below are the 10 highest-paid QBs in the NFL and their average annual salaries.

1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs, $45 million
2. Deshaun Watson, Texans, $39 million
3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks, $35 million
4. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, $34 million 
T5. Jared Goff, Rams, $33.5 million 
T5. Aaron Rodgers, Packers, $33.5 million
7. Kirk Cousins, Vikings, $33 million
8. Carson Wentz, Eagles, $32 million
9. Dak Prescott, Cowboys, $31.4 million (tag)
10. Matt Ryan, Falcons, $30 million