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Kirk Cousins will be the highest-paid player in NFL history (for at least a little while)

Mike Florio

Step aside, Jimmy. There’s a new king of the All-Time Highest Paid Player Mountain. Or at least there will be on Thursday.

Per multiple reports, quarterback Kirk Cousins will sign a three-year, $84 million deal with the Vikings. That’s an average of $28 million per year, $500,000 per year more than Jimmy Garoppolo will earn per year.

The deal for Cousins also will be fully guaranteed, which means that the Vikings will have to pay mostly all of that money into escrow at signing, as part of an outdated rule aimed at protecting players from potentially insolvent teams.

Cousins will never be insolvent. He made $19.95 million in 2016 and $23.94 million in 2017, and he’ll make another $84 million over the next three. That’s a total of $127.89 million and an average of $25.578 million.

The deal also ensures that Cousins will hit the market again in three years, at the age of 32. For most quarterbacks, that’s still smack dab in the middle of the heart of their prime.

And while some may say Cousins should have opted for another year or two of security, it would have been a mirage if it weren’t fully guaranteed. Most teams insist on a couple of non-guaranteed back-end years that inevitable fail to reflect fair value. Cousins avoided giving the Vikings the ability to squat on him at a lower number.

As to the possibility that Cousins won’t be attractive in three years based on his performance over the next three, a couple of non-guaranteed years wouldn’t have mattered, because the Vikings would have cut him.