Breaking Down the Kirk Cousins Contract with the Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have brought in a true starting quarterback at a more than fair value

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The Atlanta Falcons finally have a franchise-caliber quarterback after the Matt Ryan era ended unceremoniously. Having brought in Kirk Cousins to be that guy was a smart move by the general manager, but even smarter than that was how he structured the contract. Reported as a four-year, $180 million deal with $100 million guaranteed, that is how the structure will break it down as well. However, Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot has shown a high proficiency to create a deal to build around vs. one that will hinder the team. It breaks down as follows:

4 years, $180 million with $100 million guaranteed.

2024: $12.5 million base salary, $50 million signing bonus, cap hit of $25 million

2025: $27.5 million base salary, cap hit of $40 million.

2026: $35 million base salary, $10 million roster bonus (guarantees in 2025 on the fifth day of the league year), cap hit of $57.5 million

2027: $35 million base salary, $10 million roster bonus, cap hit of $57.5 million

Overall, the structure is relatively easy to work around. The salary cap is projected to be above $300 million in 2026 based on the massive increases in recent years. With a hit of $57.5 million in 2026, the Falcons new quarterback should be still playing at a solid enough level to make him worth keeping. He's turning 36 and that would be his age 38 season. The breakdown ends up being around 9 percent of the cap in 2024, 15 percent of a projected $270 million cap in 2025, and just under 20 percent of a projected $300 million cap for 2026 and 2027.

That leaves roughly what this year's salary cap is of around $240 million to try and build out the roster's other 53 men. The Falcons have really built a great contract for Kirk Cousins. This allows more flexibility to build the roster elsewhere. And that will be greatly needed with how the Falcons need to re-sign guys like Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson by the end of this deal. Fontenot has been cooking in free agency so far, and this contract was structured perfectly.

All advanced stats are courtesy Pro Football Focus or Football Outsiders. All traditional stats are courtesy of official team websites, NFLGSIS or CFB Stats. All RAS and athletic testing numbers are courtesy of DraftScout.com and Kent Lee Platte's RAS Football website.