Cardinals will target QB Kirk Cousins, OG Andrew Norwell in free agency
The Arizona Cardinals will begin free agency by targeting quarterback Kirk Cousins and guard Andrew Norwell, reports 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Mike Jurecki.
Cousins is in line to become the highest-paid quarterback when he signs after the new league year begins on Wednesday.
Arizona is expected to offer him a contract of five years and $145 million in total (an average of $29 million per year).
The Cardinals’ offer will include a $20 million signing bonus up front and $15 million in base salary, counting $19 million against cap in the first year and allowing the team to sign other free agents.
Next year, Cousins’ cap hit would exceed $39 million.
The Cardinals would guarantee Cousins close to $90 million in the first three years.
Of course, there will be tight competition to land Cousins, the 29-year-old who with the Washington Redskins threw for 4,093 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season.
The Minnesota Vikings are considered to be the leader, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, but the quarterback will take his time to decide whether they are a solid fit.
The New York Jets and Denver Broncos are also reportedly in the running. Rapoport added that at least two teams will offer Cousins a three-year, fully-guaranteed contract with another team expected to put a similar offer on the table.
At present, the Cardinals have only $19.6 million in cap space but are expected to free up spending money.
Arizona was expected to part ways with running back Adrian Peterson on Wednesday, according to Jurecki. Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu already alluded to changes coming when he said Thursday that the team asked him to take a pay cut.
In the race for Cousins, New York has the most cap space at $89 million. Minnesota has $47 million in cap space available, while the Broncos have $35 million in room.
As for Norwell, the 26-year-old guard could be seeking a contract similar to what the Cleveland Browns paid Kevin Zeitler last year — a five-year, $60 million deal with $31.5 million guaranteed.
Norwell, who played for the Carolina Panthers under first-year Cardinals offensive line coach Ray Brown last year, went undrafted in 2014 but in 2017 made First Team All-Pro.
The New York Giants, who hired former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman this offseason, were considered another potential landing spot for Norwell.