Lesson from the Vikings: The Minnesota Twins should be careful with the way they structure contracts
In 2018, Kirk Cousins signed a 3 year, $84M contract with the Minnesota Vikings. While this might not sound like a crazy contract for a quarterback of his caliber, it was ALL guaranteed, a record-breaking contract for the NFL.
At the end of that contract in 2020, Cousins signed yet another deal with the Vikings, this time for 2 years and $66M. This contract was also, you guessed it, fully guaranteed. While Cousins has seen his play improve a lot this year, all of that guaranteed money is a bitter pill to swallow.
Don’t get me wrong, I love when people can achieve financial security no matter who they are, but Cousins was the real and only winner in this scenario. In his four years in Minnesota, cousins is 31-28-1 and is 1-1 in playoff games as a Viking, taking Vikings fan on an emotional roller coaster every year.
He plays just well enough to give fans hope that he can take them on a late run, but in my opinion, his play has not been work the $150 million of guaranteed money so far and he is running out of time to make it worth it.
The Minnesota Twins have done a great job of avoiding this problem, especially with the way they just structured Byron Buxton’s new contract. Buxton recently signed a 7yr/$100M contract with a boatload of incentives, including million dollar bonuses depending where he finishes in MVP voting and $500K bonuses that can stack up based on how many plate appearances he gets through the year.
The contract is both team and player friendly. If Buxton plays a lot and at a high level, he gets paid like a star and the Twins get the player they’ve always believed Buck could be. If not, he gets a reasonable base salary and the Twins aren’t hamstrung by it. They seem to have picked up this first lesson well.