MINNEAPOLIS — Kirk Cousins stood in line at the Mall of America’s Shake Shack on Wednesday afternoon, cap pulled low over his head with fans all around him, surely fully aware that he will soon be able to afford 100,000 Shackburgers, with room left over for fries and a shake.
The Washington Redskins’ stunning agreement to acquire Alex Smith on Tuesday night set the table for Cousins to hit free agency unencumbered by the franchise tag or much competition in the market. He’s in line to become the recipient of the richest contract in NFL history, a reality that will only further discredit one popular hot take following Washington’s big trade.
The Redskins did not overpay to acquire Smith. The cost in trade compensation and the subsequent contract extension Washington agreed to for Smith is not surprising or out of line with market value. There were essentially two franchise quarterbacks available this offseason — Cousins and Smith — and at least seven teams looking to acquire one. Washington locked one of those quarterbacks down without coughing up an exorbitant price. In case this wasn’t obvious, quality starting quarterbacks cost a lot, and I believe they are still underpaid.