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Falcons sign QB Kirk Cousins away from Vikings with 4-year deal in free agency | CBC Sports

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Kirk Cousins is leaving Minnesota for Atlanta, landing another big contract with a well-timed foray into free agency.

Cousins agreed Monday to a four-year, $180 million US deal with $100 million guaranteed with the Falcons, according to a person with knowledge of the terms, speaking on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal can’t be signed until Wednesday when the new league year begins.

Cousins gets a $50 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2024 and 2025 are fully guaranteed, the person said. The annual average value of $45 million would reach the top 10 for quarterbacks in the NFL.

Atlanta had a glaring need at quarterback after cycling through Desmond Ridder and Tyler Heinicke last season, and Cousins’ wife, Julie, grew up in Alpharetta, a suburb of Atlanta. The fit was obvious, even if that meant the 35-year-old had to leave a comfortable situation in Minnesota.

And guess what? The Falcons are scheduled to play a road game against the Vikings in the 2024 season.

“After significant and positive dialogue with Kirk and his representatives, we were unable to reach agreement on a contract that fits the short and long-term visions for both Kirk and the Minnesota Vikings,” general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in a statement distributed by the team. “Kirk holds a special place in Vikings history, and we appreciate his leadership and contributions to the team and the Minneapolis-St. Paul community over the past six seasons. We wish him, his wife, Julie, and their children all the best.”

After moving on from their franchise player Matt Ryan in 2022, the Falcons drafted Ridder in the third round after signing Marcus Mariota. Neither move panned out, and the Falcons have failed to win more than seven games for six straight seasons.

Eagles add Barkley

The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to contracts with former New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and former New York Jets defensive end Bryce Huff, two people familiar with the deals told The Associated Press.

Barkley is set to sign a three-year deal for $26 million guaranteed and $37.75 million overall, while Huff is getting a three-year deal for $51 million, according to the people who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Barkley, who tweeted two eagle emojis on Monday, hit free agency after the Giants elected not to put a franchise tag on the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

The Giants used the tag last season and eventually worked out a one-year, $10.1 million contract before the start of training camp. A franchise tag this year would have cost the team $12.2 million if Barkley accepted the offer.

Barkley, 27, played in 14 games last season, missing three because of a high ankle sprain. He ran for 962 yards and six touchdowns and had 41 catches, including four TDs.

Since joining the Giants, Barkley has run for 5,211 yards and 35 touchdowns. The Penn State product also has 288 receptions for 2,100 yards and 12 TDs.

Barkley missed most of the 2020 season after tearing his ACL in the second week of the season. He struggled in 2021 but regained his form the following year, rushing for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns in helping the Giants get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

The 25-year old Huff spent the last four seasons with the New York Jets. Huff goes from undrafted to a big pay day after recording a career-best 10 sacks last season. He still needs to develop as a run defender to be more than a pass-rush specialist.

End of era in Tennessee

The Tennessee Titans are replacing four-time Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry with Tony Pollard.

Pollard and the Titans agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

The Titans drafted Tyjae Spears last season. Spears was the backup to Henry. The eight-year veteran, who turned 30 in January, is poised to hit free agency Wednesday for the first time in his career.

Pollard, 26, was a fourth-round pick by Dallas in 2019 out of Memphis. He has had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Cowboys using the franchise tag on Pollard for the 2023 season.

Raiders beef up

The Las Vegas Raiders received a major boost to their interior defensive line on Monday when tackle Christian Wilkins agreed to a four-year, $110 million contract.

Of that amount, $84.75 million will be guaranteed, agent David Mulugheta said.

Wilkins, 28, played his first five seasons for the Miami Dolphins, with whom he became one of the NFL’s top run stoppers. He set a league record in 2022 for his position with 98 tackles. The Raiders were 20th last season in run defence, allowing 118.5 yards per game.

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