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Kirk Cousins contract ‘essentially assured’ Jared Goff extension costs Detroit Lions a staggering amount

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff contract
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Lions don’t have to worry about the potential of losing Jared Goff to NFL free agency for another year. However, the Kirk Cousins contract signed by the Atlanta Falcons could have a ripple effect on the Lions’ cap situation and roster management moving forward.

Detroit is among the leaders in cap space this offseason, which helped them land edge rusher Marcus Davenport on Monday. The Lions’ front office is expected to remain active in NFL free agency in the days to come, but the club also has to think about the future.

  • Jared Goff contract: $$22.3 million salary in 2024, $32.3 million cap hit. 2025 NFL free agent

Related: Highest-paid NFL players 2024

In 2025, offensive tackle Taylor Decker, cornerback Carlton Davis, defensive tackle Alim McNeil and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown are all poised to join Goff as unrestricted free agents. Detroit wants to bring them back, but that means massive pay increases that match skyrocketing NFL revenue and soaring player salaries.

Cousins’ deal with Atlanta is a part of that. Even coming off a torn Achilles and heading into his age-36 season, Cousins landed a four-year deal worth $180 million total and a $50 million signing bonus. As Detroit braces for extension talks with its Pro Bowl quarterback, the price to sign him will be even higher.

Reviewing the first day of free agency, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports wrote that while it once looked like the cost of a Goff contract extension would be $50 million per year, it’s now “essentially assured” Goff will require a multi-year extension worth at least $50 million annually.

  • Jared Goff stats 2023: 97.9 QB rating, 67.3 percent completion rate, 4,575 passing yards, 30-12 TD-INT, 5% TD rate, 2% INT rate, 7.6 yards per attempt, 12-5 record

Currently, only four quarterbacks – Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts – are playing under a $50 million AAV. If Goff signs at that price, his average annual salary would be $5 million higher than Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

However, Goff’s agent can make a strong case he’s worth more than Cousins. Not only would Goff likely be healthy after his age-30 season, he’s been to the NFC Championship Game twice and came a drive away from earning a Super Bowl appearance with a second team.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft quarterback rankings

The Lions know they are in no position to let Goff leave and they almost certainly won’t have a high enough draft pick in 2025 to replace Goff. It gives him all the leverage and at the rate quarterback salaries are increasing, Detroit will likely accept that they have to pay him $50 million per season after 2024.

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