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QB Roundup: Cousins' Contract; Taylor To Start; Smith An Upgrade?
Two days into the free-agent signing period and the moves continued. In addition, a handful of previous moves were confirmed. Along with that confirmation came clarity on contract details and expected roles.

Starting in Minnesota. .. Where Kirk Cousins officially agreed to terms to become the Vikings' new quarterback by signing what NFL Network's Ian Rapoport described as a "record-setting, paradigm-shifting, tradition-exploding contract."

This after Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million deal that is fully guaranteed. It not only makes him the highest paid player in football history, but he's also the first quarterback to sign a multi-year, fully guaranteed deal.

In addition, Cousins receives a $3 million signing bonus. His base salaries are $22.5 million for 2018, $27.5 million for 2019 and $29.5 million for 2020. In each year, he gets a $500,000 workout bonus. That's $84 million. So it's $26 million in Year 1, $28 million in Year 2, $30 million in Year 3, a top 5 cash flow.

While the $3 million signing bonus seems insignificant (in the context of the average NFL contract), the fully guaranteed $84 million is far more than the previous high of $60 million.

In addition, Cousins has $2 million worth of upside potential in each year tied to Super Bowl-related incentives involving several factors. If his team wins the Super Bowl every year and the rest of the parameters are reached, the deal can be three years, $90 million.

Cousins made $44 million over the past two years with his franchise tags. That means he'll make $128 million over five seasons.

Consider the fact that before he signed his first franchise tag, Cousins made a contract counteroffer to the Redskins that was a three-year, $58.5 million offer that was fully guaranteed. They quickly turned it down.

With the finances out of the way, it's time to get busy.

"Now the work begins," Cousins said during his introductory press conference. "I’m not here to sign a contract, in essence. I'm here to play football."

And to win a championship.

Indeed, as Minneapolis Star-Tribune staffer Andrew Krammer noted, after a crushing loss in the NFC title game in Philadelphia, the Vikings sent another prominent message they’re aiming for the Super Bowl next season. General manager Rick Spielman has spent two first-round picks (Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford) and now a record-breaking contract at quarterback since hiring coach Mike Zimmer in 2014.

Cousins, who turns 30 in August, was the top free agent this offseason after stringing together three consecutive 4,000-yard seasons with at least 25 passing touchdowns in each for Washington.

He’ll be the seventh Vikings starting quarterback under Zimmer.

"He was a guy who always had to prove himself, a lot like a lot of the guys on our football team," Zimmer said. "... He bet on himself several times and won. He’s always played with a chip on his shoulder. He’s going to be a great part of our offense and a great part of our football team."

Stability and a Lombardi Trophy are what the Vikings seek in Cousins, who brings 49 consecutive starts to a franchise that has started four quarterbacks in that span.

"I can't win a Super Bowl today," Cousins said, but was clear about his mission to be a part of a franchise that he believes is serious about winning.

Conversely, the Vikings provide Cousins a comfortable situation, including last year’s No. 1 defense and an array of skill position talent from Adam Thielen to Dalvin Cook.

In the end, that should be enough to satisfy fantasy owners invested in a successful, productive Minnesota offense. ...

One other note on Cousins. ... According to New York Daily News beat man Manish Mehta, the Jets offered Cousins $30 million per year, $2 million more per year ($6 million total) than the Vikings offered on a three-year deal. Cousins obviously took the lower offer. For the obvious reasons. ...

Meanwhile, in Cleveland. ... Introduced Thursday as the Browns' newest quarterback, Tyrod Taylor made it crystal clear he doesn't plan to simply log a few starts before giving way to a fill-in-the-blank rookie passer.

"I don't necessarily view myself as a bridge quarterback. I'm a quarterback," Taylor told reporters. "As far as a bridge, hopefully I'm helping 'bridge' this team to a Super Bowl."

Head coach Hue Jackson seemed to confirm that when he told reporters: "[Taylor's] going to be the starting quarterback. There is no competition."

Taylor came to Cleveland through a trade that saw the Browns ship this year's 65th overall pick to Buffalo in return for the 28-year-old signal-caller. No matter what the Browns do in the draft -- they're widely expected to grab a quarterback with the first- or fourth-overall selection -- Taylor is likely to start right away and potentially all season long.

Indeed, there's a chance -- given the some of the team's other additions, including Jarvis Landry and Carlos Hyde and talented holdovers like Josh Gordon, Duke Johnson and David Njoku -- Taylor can emerge as a front-line starter even if the Browns add a big-name rookie arm come draft day. ...

In Washington. ...'s John Keim reports the decision came down to this: Alex Smith was available and the Redskins wanted stability at quarterback. They had other options; none appealed to them as much as trading for Smith.

The move was announced Jan. 30 and became official on Wednesday.

“It became about how, going into free agency, are we going to chase (Cousins) around or go after Teddy Bridgewater,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “You have a chance to get an established quarterback who has been as successful as [Smith] has been, consistently. So really it was a no-brainer.”

The Redskins couldn’t comment on the trade until it became official so Gruden’s comments represent the organization’s first words on their new quarterback.

The Redskins get an established quarterback in Smith, who turns 34 in May. In five years with Kansas City, Smith threw 102 touchdowns to 33 interceptions in helping the Chiefs go 50-26 in his starts. In the playoffs, Smith and the Chiefs went 1-4.

Smith topped 4,000 passing yards last season for the first time in his career; Cousins accomplished that each of the past three seasons.

Smith has more mobility than Cousins. The latter started using his feet more last season, but Smith has done it throughout his career. In a Week 4 win over Washington last season, Smith’s legs kept multiple plays alive. Some resulted in big gains: A 32-yard run; a 37-yard pass on the game-winning drive.

Other times it was more subtle, escaping quick pressure with a quick move to the outside.

“That’s something you can’t coach,” Gruden said.

One aspect of Smith’s game has been picked apart many times: His willingness to throw down the field.

Last season, however, Smith attempted a career-best 59 passes that traveled at least 20 yards through the air (tying him for 10th in the NFL). According to ESPN Stats and Information, he attempted 42 the previous year, ranking 26th, (and 25 in 2014). He completed 52.5 percent of those passes this past season -- he was 21-of-36 on throws to receivers.

“He went downfield a lot last year,” Gruden said of Smith. “Before that they had issues at receiver. But I’m not too concerned."

For what it's worth, Cousins also attempted 59 such throws last season -- the same number as in 2015, but 18 fewer than in 2016 with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon at receiver.

Gruden said at the end of last season he wanted Cousins to show more trust in his receivers.

In other words: Let Josh Doctson go up and make a play, even if he appears covered. The Redskins also landed speedy receiver Paul Richardson to generate more big plays.

Now it will be on Smith to make them -- along with Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed -- viable fantasy weapons. ...

In Denver. ... Case Keenum arrived in Denver coming off a career-altering season in Minnesota, having helped the Vikings reach the NFC Championship Game after Bradford was lost in September to a knee injury. But Zimmer never fully committed to Keenum publicly as the team's long-term option, whether during the season or after it ended.

"Is Case the guy he was last year or is he the guy he was two years ago?" Zimmer asked last week at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Broncos are clearly betting on the latter, possibly with some belief that Keenum could look like the guy he was with the Houston Texans back in 2013.

Keenum started eight games that season, which wound up being Gary Kubiak's final year as head coach in Houston. Kubiak, who won a Super Bowl as Broncos coach, has since taken on an expanded role in the Broncos' front office this offseason. Surely his experience working with Keenum added to the Broncos' comfort level in bringing Keenum on board despite the 30-year-old's risk-taking style.

Keenum is eager to prove them right.

“I got real close to the big game," Keenum said upon arrival Thursday. I got a taste of what it could be like. [It was] my first real, live playoff atmosphere [and] game situation. I’m hungry. I’m not satisfied with where we got to. I want more. So I’m ready to hit the ground running, and I’m ready for more.”

Although Keenum's contract with the Broncos will pay him $36 million over the next two years (with $25 million is fully guaranteed), he doesn’t have enough to buy his old number in his new city.

As PFT's Darin Gantt explained, "Turns out, some guy named John Elway used to wear that number in Denver, and since some guy named John Elway signs the checks, that’s not happening."

The new Broncos quarterback, whose Twitter handle is @CaseKeenum7, wasn’t going to get that one so he decided to pick something different: Number 4.

Gantt added, "As long as Keenum doesn’t end up with the Packers in two years, he should be OK with this one for a while."