NFC East Q&A: Does Kirk Cousins deserve to be the highest-paid QB in the division?

Today's question: Based on his salary-cap hit, Kirk Cousins will cost more than any quarterback in the NFC East. Does he deserve to be the highest-paid QB in the division?

Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys reporter: I know something about large salary-cap hits for a quarterback, considering the figure Tony Romo had the last few years. The argument really comes down to Eli Manning and Cousins. As good as Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz might be, they still have plenty to prove. I'm sure you crowned Robert Griffin III after his rookie year, right? I kid. But Prescott and Wentz are on rookie contracts and will be for at least another two seasons, so they're not in this discussion. Manning is 36 and has two Super Bowl rings to his credit. Cousins is looking for his first playoff win. The word "deserves" is always a tough one for me, because who deserves $24 million? But based on his age, the system, what he has done the last two years and what he is playing for in the future, then, yes, Cousins deserves to be the highest-paid quarterback in the division.

Jordan Raanan, New York Giants reporter: Salary should be based on future (not past) performance. You don't pay for what someone did six years ago. You pay for what they're going to produce moving forward. So considering Manning is 36 years old and Wentz and Prescott are still somewhat unproven, it makes sense that Cousins, 28, is the highest-paid quarterback in the division. He's in his quarterbacking prime. Manning could be in his decline, and Wentz and Prescott are in their learning years. Cousins is past that point. He has proven himself over the past two seasons. His future is bright, even if that future may not be in Washington. Cousins has me sold with a better than 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio the past two years combined.

Tim McManus, Philadelphia Eagles reporter: No. If salary were purely based on the formula of production plus projection, I would have Cousins last in the division behind Manning, Wentz and Prescott. Manning is the most accomplished of the group, clearly, as the championship rings on his fingers will tell you, and I see a higher upside for second-year QBs Wentz and Prescott. I've witnessed plenty of quality performances by Cousins firsthand -- he's 4-1 lifetime against the Eagles with 12 touchdowns to three interceptions -- but overall I view him as a middle-of-the-pack quarterback. That doesn't mean the Redskins are wrong to pay him -- quarterbacks hold all the leverage in this sport, and you can't let a good one go if there's not a better one waiting in the wings -- but I'm not sure that he's deserving of the most money in the NFC East based on merit.