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What Matthew Stafford’s contract extension means for Kirk Cousins (and the 49ers)

The quarterback market has been reset once again, and the it affects the 49ers in a big way.

The Detroit Lions are set to pay Matthew Stafford $27 million per season for the next five years, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL. The initial report came in last night, and then the official dollar amount was confirmed by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

That’s $135 million over five years, about what people expected given the franchise tag will be worth $26.4 million for 2018. That meant that Stafford was always going to demand that amount for a multi-year deal and the Lions had no problem giving it to him.

According to Tom Pelissero, the deal includes $60.5 million fully guaranteed at signing, with three-year cash flow of $51 million, $67.5 million, and $87 million. In effect, this resets the quarterback market once again. That’s big news for guys like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees who could be looking at extensions soon, but also for Kirk Cousins of Washington.

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag in Washington, and will make just under $24 million this coming season. Obviously, we care about Cousins and what is going on with his contract because the San Francisco 49ers have been linked to him several times since Kyle Shanahan took over as head coach.

Presumably, Cousins will hit the open market in 2018 and will have plenty of options, provided he doesn’t have a completely terrible season with Washington. Shanahan will still probably like Cousins then, and the 49ers would likely be bidding for his services.

The 49ers are in the top three teams in regards to total salary cap for 2017, and are looking at huge cap space again in 2018. They currently have approximately $43 million in 2018 cap space, and that does not reflect rolling over their sizable current cap space. They have room for flexibility with Cousins’ contract.

But yes, right now, it looks like the franchise quarterback market is now set at a dollar amount per season that the 49ers will have in total cap space next year.