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|The leverage of free agency in his prime brought Kirk Cousins the market-setting contract with Minnesota.
Now the Vikings have their latest franchise quarterback to try to secure that elusive first Super Bowl victory with.
The Vikings wrapped up their welcome party with an $84 million Cameron Meredith Jersey , three-year contract for Cousins on Thursday afternoon, banking big time on the late-blooming former Washington Redskins prospect to finally stabilize a critical position that's been infamously problematic.
"The contract, it is what it is," Cousins said. "But what my wife and I are thrilled about is the organization we are walking into."
The money for Cousins is fully guaranteed, the largest such figure in NFL history, at least until the next mega quarterback contract comes along, according to figures tracked by the pro sports financial website spotrac . His annual average of $28 million is also, for now, the biggest in the league, at least until the next mega quarterback contract comes along.
Team owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf were willing to approve the investment, hopeful that Cousins can be the keystone to a championship squad.
"If anybody in this city or this state has a question about their commitment, I think this contract shows that they're all in," Cousins said. "It's a tremendous amount of belief in me as a person and as a player, and I'm humbled and honored to get the OK on that."
The guarantee of the full value of the deal is unprecedented in the NFL O. J. Simpson Jersey , where a variety of complex factors have kept players from receiving sure-thing contracts like their professional baseball, basketball and hockey peers.
His agent, Mike McCartney, began talking to Cousins about the potential for such a groundbreaking deal more than two years ago with the assumption he'd eventually arrive at free agency because of the noncommittal Redskins.
"There's nothing I can pave unless people come after me," Cousins said at his introductory news conference at the team's sparkling and still-under construction suburban headquarters. "I guess history will probably write that."
Cousins will represent the fourth primary quarterback the Vikings have had in as many seasons. As long as he stays healthy throughout the summer, Cousins will also represent the eighth starting quarterback for a season opener in the past nine years.
Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum all became free agents this week and signed with other teams, so the Vikings didn't have much of a backup plan if Cousins balked at their offer.
But as a team with a star-laden defense and plenty of dynamic skill-position players on offense that reached the NFC championship game last season, the Vikings also represented quite the destination for Cousins.
"I came here because of the chance to win," he said. "I felt like it was probably the best chance."
Cousins started 57 games over his six seasons with Washington, which drafted him in the fourth round in 2012 behind second overall draft pick Robert Griffin III. RG3's star faded quickly, though, and Cousins, who was lightly recruited out of Holland Christian High School before landing at Michigan State Bart Starr Jersey , worked his way up the depth chart. He topped 4,000 passing yards over each of the past three years.
The Redskins appeared in only one postseason game with Cousins at the helm, and his career record as a starter is just 26-30-1. Rarely does a rising quarterback reach free agency before turning 30, though, so after playing for about $20 million in 2016 and about $24 million in 2017 on consecutive franchise tags with Washington, Cousins reached his opportunity to truly cash in after the Redskins acquired Alex Smith in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
"He bet on himself several times and won, and those things are really important to me," coach Mike Zimmer said. "He's always played with a chip on his shoulder. We're just really excited to have him."
Realizing he was headed for the open market, Cousins began scouring the Twin Cities area while in town for promotional appearances the week of the Super Bowl. Just two days into his visit, the Smith deal went down. Upon phoning home to his wife, Julie, he gave a glowing scouting report of the region.
"This is a lifetime deal. That's the goal," Cousins said. "Yes, it's a three-year deal Charley Taylor Jersey , but the expectation from both sides is that we raise our kids here and if everything goes as planned, we're here for a long time."
The Vikings began the day $50 million under their salary cap , according to NFL Players Association data, and the deal with Cousins will take up almost half of that with the prospect of expensive extensions looming in the coming year for players such as linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
They still have space to make more improvements this month, though and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was already at the new facility on Thursday for a visit. Richardson, a first-round pick by the New York Jets in the 2013 draft, was traded to the Seattle Seahawks prior to last season.
J.T. Realmuto was focused purely on putting the ball in play with the bases loaded and two strikes on him.
He ended up putting it out of play.
Realmuto hit a grand slam during a five-run seventh inning and the Miami Marlins beat the Colorado Rockies 6-2 Saturday.
With one out, Realmuto fouled off three pitches against struggling reliever Bryan Shaw before lining an elevated cutter just over the right-field wall. The drive helped Miami stop a three-game skid and ended the Rockies’ winning streak at four.
”Early, I felt like I was trying to do a little too much in that at-bat,” Realmuto said. ”Once I got to two strikes I was really just trying to fight and put the ball in play. That’s really it.”
Shaw said he threw the pitch he wanted against Realmuto. It just ended with a bad result.
”We executed where we wanted to and he hit it,” Shaw said.
Trevor Richards (2-4) gave up one run and three hits in six innings, striking out eight. He also singled for his first hit in the majors.
The 25-year-old rookie was 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA on the road coming into the day at Coors Field.
”He set the tone,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”He kept us in the game and gave us a chance.”
Rockies starter Tyler Anderson (4-3) was sharp before allowing three consecutive hits to open the seventh, including an RBI single from pinch-hitter Justin Bour that chased the lefty and put the Marlins ahead 2-1. Starlin Castro then loaded the bases after video review reversed an out call and ruled him safe with an infield single.
An out later Bill Bates Jersey , Realmuto hit his second career grand slam. His first came on Aug. 12, 2015 against the Boston Red Sox.
”J.T.’s great, you know he’s not afraid,” Mattingly said. ”He’s not bothered by anything out there. He’s one of the guys that you like being up there. I remember telling him last year, at one point he was struggling, and I just told him `there’s no one I like up there better than you’, because you always feel like he’s not afraid and nothing is going to bother him up there.”
Gerardo Parra hit a solo homer in the seventh to bring Colorado within 6-2. Parra drove both runs for the Rockies, who fell back below .500 (38-39).
Derek Dietrich hit his 10th home run of the season off Anderson in the fourth to put the Marlins up 1-0. Colorado tied it on Parra’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning.
Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas was a late scratch with soreness from a bruise on his left hand.
Rockies: RHP Scott Oberg (back strain) and LHP Mike Dunn (shoulder strain) were slated to begin rehab assignments in Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday.
NEW ROLE FOR SHAW?
Colorado manager Bud Black wasn’t opposed to the idea of moving Shaw into a different role in the bullpen as he continues to struggle.
”That’s possible,” Black said. ”We have some guys coming back that might potentially be able to go that way to give Bryan a little step back.”
The Rockies called up INF Pat Valaika and optioned RHP Yency Almonte to Triple-A Albuquerque.
The Rockies welcomed back a few of their former players as the organization celebrated their 25th year anniversary. Todd Helton and Larry Walker were among those in attendance. Prior to the game, they returning players posed for selfies with fans and a couple of them took a few swings in a batting practice. Former Rockies third baseman Vinny Castilla – who is 50 – hit a couple well over the fence in left to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd.
Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (5-6, 4.03 ERA) takes the mound for the series finale Sunday. Smith has gone 3-4 with a 4.89 ERA on the road this season.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (5-7, 5.20 ERA) is 1-2 with a 7.77 in his four starts in June. He got the win against the Mets on Tuesday after allowing four runs in six innings.
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