After having four more touchdown passes Sunday, the Washington Redskins' Kirk Cousins is hovering around the NFL's top 10 in both passer rating and Total QBR through Week 15. He ranks among the top five in both categories since leading his team back from a 24-0 deficit to beat Tampa Bay in Week 7.
Cousins ranks toward the other end of the league in another notable category. He is 75th out of 90 quarterbacks in annual average salary, including third on his own team behind Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy. That should change in a big way once the 2015 season runs its course. Cousins, whose improved play has helped keep Washington atop the NFC East with a 7-7 record, has placed himself high on a short list of quarterbacks who have played well enough to earn extensions before their current deals lapse in March.
Here, we delve into that list, with some help from agents and NFL team salary-cap managers regarding how much each quarterback might command, and what factors could affect negotiations.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Age when 2016 season starts: 28
Career NFL starts: 23 (9-14 record, including 7-7 this season)
Key stats to know: Cousins has lowered his interception rate from 4.7 percent in previous seasons to 2.3 percent in 2015, which is just under the league average. He has 16 touchdown passes with only three interceptions in eight starts since Week 7. His 115.0 passer rating in that span ranks second behind Russell Wilson's 121.1. Cousins is fifth in QBR since Week 7, trailing only Carson Palmer, Wilson, Alex Smith and Drew Brees.
Dynamics to consider: Cousins is a relatively young quarterback who is hitting his stride in the final year of his contract for a team with deep pockets and no attractive alternative (the release of Griffin is a given). Cousins has played enough to give the Redskins a solid idea of what they have, but his career is still in its early stages, which differentiates him from the other quarterbacks on this list.
Projected salary range: