Kirk Cousins is a real option for the Jacksonville Jaguars – and they can afford him

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Kirk Cousins
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Kirk Cousins /

The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t have the most cap space, but they can field a competitive offer for Kirk Cousins if they want to.

As the Jacksonville Jaguars start their work for the offseason, they have numerous questions to answer throughout the roster.

Of course, no question is more important than the quarterback position and surprisingly the Jaguars have a few ways they can present a solution.

Most of the focus has been on the draft rather than free agency for a few reasons, but mainly because the only real option considered to be an upgrade – Kirk Cousins – is going to demand a huge contract. The Jaguars are no longer a top 3 team in terms of salary cap space, but that doesn’t mean they can’t afford the prized free agent passer.

A group of team reports over at ESPN underwent a mock free agency exercise to see what teams could potentially offer to Kirk Cousins. Mike Sando played the part of Kirk Cousin’s agent to decide which team to choose.

Michael DiRocco, the Jaguars reporter for ESPN, fielded a strong offer for the Jaguars:

"Jacksonville Jaguars’ offerTotal years and value: Five for $140 millionAverage per year: $28 millionFull guarantee at signing: $65 millionTotal guarantee: $95 millionThree-year payout: $50 million after Year 1, $70 million after Year 2, $95 million after Year 3."

That’s a lot of money and it’ll put the Jaguars right at the cap, but it’s realistic. As DiRocco notes, the Jaguars can clear plenty of cap space if they really want to make a run at Cousins.

"As for the money, the Jaguars have approximately $16.5 million in cap space for 2018. Take away $10 million to sign the draft class and that leaves the team with $6.5 million. The Jaguars can clear $19.053 million by cutting Bortles. Cutting running back Chris Ivory ($3.87 million) and receiver Allen Hurns ($7 million) would help, too. That would leave the Jaguars with approximately $36.4 million in available cap space — more than enough to afford Cousins — and that’s not even adding in any other veteran cuts, salary-cap savings and cap rollover."

Cutting Bortles before knowing whether or not Cousins would commit is a gamble, but the Jaguars wouldn’t be caught with their pants down in terms of replacements in free agency and the draft if it doesn’t work out. Lateral options like Josh McCown, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, or even Sam Bradford (funnily enough, all Vikings) might be on the market.

It’s also interesting to note the disconnect between the national and local media on the perception of Bortles’ injury. The locals, who I would trust to know more, seem to think Bortles will be able to pass his physical while the national folks don’t – so I’m not worried.

So the Jaguars have the cap space, but would Cousins pick the Jaguars?

"Which offer should Cousins take?The Jaguars are the choice, and it’s a relatively easy one to make. My client wants a fair deal maximizing his ability to win right away. The deal with Jacksonville sacrifices average per year relative to the other offers, but the $28 million average still resets the current market….Jacksonville, it is. There’s a great young defense in place, a workhorse running back, and strong leadership from the top in Tom Coughlin. This is a great situation for any quarterback."

Sando, acting as Cousins’ agent, goes with the Jaguars over offers from the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, and Denver Broncos.

What’s clear from this article is that the Jaguars are definitely in the running – if they want to make an offer that’s at least somewhat in line with the other teams, they can do it.

So should they?