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Matthew Stafford contract likely next, could set market for Kirk Cousins in 2018

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Did you think the Kirk Cousins talk would just go away for a year?

NFL: Detroit Lions-Minicamp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks are getting paid. Well, Kirk Cousins isn’t one of those quarterbacks (not strictly true, as the franchise tag is always a nice little one-year pay day), but after months of speculation about a mammoth deal for him resetting the franchise quarterback market, the NFL world has moved on.

Next up: Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. The Lions are optimistic a deal will get done before training camp, and the nature of such a deal is now the big question for everyone involved. Derek Carr set the bar when he signed a deal giving him $25 million a year average. Many thought Stafford would be a small increase from that, and that’s still possible.

But as pointed out by Pride of Detroit, Albert Breer recently suggested that a figure closer to $30 million per season could be feasible given the near-$60 million total for tagging Stafford two years in a row.

This is, ostensibly, important to San Francisco 49ers fans due to the fact that Cousins is playing on a one-year tender, the 49ers like him, and he’ll be asking for franchise quarterback money in 2018. This is all moot if Cousins completely lays an egg next season, but provided his play holds up, he’ll be looking at something in line with what other franchise quarterbacks are getting.

Would the 49ers pay that much? Probably — there really isn’t much a team can do to stem the tide of quarterback contracts. Is Cousins worth that much? I personally doubt it, but it’s 2017, and 2018 could look a whole lot different. Maybe a year of Brian Hoyer changes things significantly.

But it’s possible that’s what Cousins wanted, or something close to it, over the first two years of his deal, and if that’s the case, Washington was more than willing to simply tag him and if necessary, tag him again in 2018. They seem “committed” to him, with intentional apostrophes. Finger quotes. That kind of thing.

Thirty million, here we come?