The idea began to percolate about 2陆 years ago Jason Sanders Color Rush Jersey , in discussions between Kirk Cousins and agent Mike McCartney about his status with the Washington Redskins and his future in the NFL.
The goal was to get a fully guaranteed contract, the security players in this league of high turnover and short shelf lives have sought for decades, unlike their peers in professional baseball, basketball and hockey who are accustomed to guaranteed money.
This week, when Cousins finally reached free agency after two consecutive seasons playing on the franchise tag, the Minnesota Vikings made that once-unrealistic aspiration happen with an $84 million, three-year deal.
"It took a great player to come to the market, and it's not easy to get to the market with great players," McCartney said. "It's just the way it turned out. It's been an exciting several weeks in anticipation. We researched all fall, the different teams and potential options. At one point, we never thought that the Vikings would need a quarterback and yet still did our research and homework on them. As we got closer to free agency, I had a feeling we were going to have an opportunity."
As a low draft pick who was forced to work his way up the depth chart and has never won a postseason game, Cousins represented an unlikely candidate to set the precedent. The market always flows toward the demand, though, and because Washington was lukewarm on his long-term potential, Cousins was able to make about $44 million over the last two years and still hit free agency in his prime with no history of significant injury. The Redskins declined to use the franchise tag a third time and acquired Alex Smith in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs instead.
That allowed a player who topped 4 Sean Lee Jersey Womens ,000 passing yards in three straight seasons to cash in on the volume of quarterback-needy teams in the NFL, where there's perpetually a short supply of true superstars at the most challenging of all positions.
"It would be great if this would be a game changer and started a trend. Hopefully, there are some high-profile guys who can build on this and go beyond Kirk's money but still have a fully guaranteed contract," McCartney said, adding: "It's time for it to happen."
The Vikings were the other critical part of this equation, of course. They drafted Teddy Bridgewater in the first round in 2014 with the expectation he'd become their franchise quarterback, but he wrecked his knee right before the 2016 season and has yet to start a game since then. His replacement, Sam Bradford, became a free agent. So did his super sub, Case Keenum. With a roster on the cusp of a Super Bowl, having lost to the eventual champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game, the Vikings were more than willing to be as aggressive as they needed to acquire the quarterback they believed was the best available free agent.
"I don't know where it's going to go," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "But I know when a player of this caliber gets out there on the market and he's been franchised two years in a row, and it's the quarterback position, you're going to have to do what you have to do. If we didn't, I know a lot of other teams out there would have."
The Vikings didn't offer Cousins the most overall money Colts Darius Leonard Jersey , McCartney said, but they were confident enough in Cousins to commit to not only the largest per-year average in NFL history (topping Jimmy Garoppolo) but the biggest guaranteed figure the league has seen (beating Matthew Stafford). Those benchmarks will be temporary, of course, with quarterbacks of greater ability and accomplishment like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan in the queue for contract extensions with their clubs.
The ice has at least been chipped, though, if not broken wide open.
"It won't matter if other players after me choose to go a different route," Cousins said at his introductory news conference on Thursday. "It is what it is for my situation, but players after me have to decide what they want to do."
There are a number of complex reasons why NFL contracts have so rarely been guaranteed like those in MLB, the NBA or the NHL, with one being a decades-old clause in the collective bargaining agreement that requires teams to put deferred guaranteed money in escrow. That was devised before the league's revenue boom to ensure teams wouldn't run out of cash to pay players. Now, the rule can simply deter deep-pocketed owners from granting long-term, guaranteed deals that require cutting massive checks that won't be cashed for years.
"Now we have so much TV money that it's completely unnecessary from my vantage point," McCartney said.
The key to making this a trend instead of a footnote will be more players willing to take shorter contracts. If Cousins asked for a five-year deal, the total value likely wouldn't have been much higher if at all. In so many contracts over the course of the modern NFL, the maximum value was never paid out because teams were able to cut an aged or underperforming players without being on the hook for much if any guaranteed money in the latter part of the deal.
McCartney acknowledged his confidence level of fulfilling this goal was relatively low when he first approached the Redskins about a new contract for his client. Cousins picked the Vikings for more than just the desirability of their offer. They provided him the best championship opportunity of all the suitors, and he raved about the culture and leadership he discovered through his research and initial visit to team headquarters.
"Just so grateful for the way things have played out Youth Keke Coutee Jersey ," Cousins said. "I wouldn't change anything that has happened for the world. Now I'm just excited to look forward to all that is in store."
Dwyane Wade snuffed out one 76ers‘ rally by popping a 16-foot fadeaway with the shot clock ticking down. Wade made a halfhearted attempt at reaching his hand out toward a fallen defender before he scooted on his way.
Wade was up, the Sixers were down and suddenly, a series.
The Heat had to have this one – a brooding Joel Embiid is angling for a comeback.
Wade turned in a vintage performance, scoring 28 points to end the 76ers’ 17-game winning streak and lead the Miami Heat to a 113-103 Game 2 win over Philadelphia on Monday night and even the first-round playoff series.
”It’s just in my DNA,” Wade said. ”I love the stage.”
The 36-year-old flashed the form of a three-time NBA champion with the Heat, not the journeyman who bounced around the last two seasons with forgettable stints in Chicago and Cleveland.
Wade made 11 of 17 shots and put on a show in the second quarter and put it away in the fourth.
”I saw moments,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”That’s what defines Dwyane Wade.”
The 76ers could soon get their defining Process moment from Embiid.
The Sixers sorely needed Embiid, their All-Star center out with a broken orbital bone, to settle them as they fell in a quick a 16-point hole.
The Sixers lost for the first time since March 13 to Indiana. They won 16 straight to end the regular season and the first game of the playoffs and played their 10th straight game without Embiid.
”You need Joel Embiid,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
Embiid went on Instagram after the game and wrote, ”sick and tired of being babied.”
Pack the black mask for Miami.
”Joel is a superstar. Of course we’re missing him offensively, defensively,” Sixers forward Dario Saric said. ”He’s a guy who wants to play all the time. I can’t wait for Joel to come back and help us because we’re a better team with him.”
Even without Embiid, the Sixers trimmed the lead to two points late in the fourth.
Philly fans were going wild and suddenly the home-court edge that had made the Sixers unbeatable for a month seemed like it would perk the team back up for one more notch on the winning streak.
Not so fast.
Ersan Ilyasova made a tip shot to close to 98-96 but Wade answered and stripped Saric and finished on the other end with a basket that steadied the Heat.
The series shifts to Miami for Game 3 on Thursday.
Wade’s play resembled his glory days at times and he carried the Heat in a sensational second quarter that was the difference. He pump-faked his way to 15 points in the quarter – impressive enough, even moreso that he outscored the potent Sixers by two points.
Wade made his first seven shots of the game and passed Larry Bird for 10th on the NBA’s career postseason scoring list.
”I play the game for these moments,” Wade said.
After a Game 1 victory where they couldn’t miss Michael Gallup Youth Jersey , the Sixers couldn’t make a big bucket in the first half. The Sixers made a team playoff-record 18 3s in Game 1 and missed a whopping 16 of 18 3s in the first half.
The Heat slowed the game down – exactly the kind of style where the Sixers needed Embiid in the middle – and used a collective of defenders on Ben Simmons that rattled the rookie point guard early.
The passing-and-pushing offense that got the Sixers to the No. 3 seed in the East failed them for the first time since early March.
But there was life left in the fourth.
Saric was fouled by Wade and sank both from the line to make it 91-82 and he followed with a 3 the next time down that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Saric broke up a pass on defense that led to a Simmons dunk and suddenly 18 straight wins was within reach.
Wade contributed with baskets, assists and free throws over the final 4 minutes to close out the win.
”We played Game 1 like a regular-season game and tonight was a playoff game,” Wade said.
Simmons, who had a triple-double in the opener, led the Sixers with 24 points and Saric had 23.
”I hate this feeling but maybe it’s a good reminder for everybody for next game to lock in,” Simmons said.
Heat: Goran Dragic scored 20 points and James Johnson had 18.
76ers: Philly native and Hollywood star Kevin Hart rang the ceremonial Liberty Bell and sat courtside a few seats down from Allen Iverson.
Wade said he was motivated by Hart’s trash talk. ”To be able to hush a crowd, that’s a great feeling,” Wade said.
Ilyasova got the start at center for the first time in Embiid’s absence over Amir Johnson.
The 76ers held a moment of silence for Hall of Famer Hal Greer. Greer died Saturday after a brief illness. He was 81. He’s the 76ers’ career leader in points, field goals, field goals attempted, games and minutes played.
”He was a graceful man. He was class. He was a gentleman,” Brown said.
Game 3 is Thursday and Game 4 is Saturday in Miami.
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