NFL

Kirk Cousins Has Made $140 Million in the NFL But Lives Like a College Kid to Save Money

When you think of an NFL quarterback, you’d ideally imagine a fearless field general, leading his team to victory. Kirk Cousins, however, probably wouldn’t spring to mind. Despite some notable struggles, though, the veteran quarterback has still carved out a solid career; if nothing else, he’s been a financial success.

During his time in the NFL, Kirk Cousins has made more than $140 million in salary. Despite those sizable earnings, the quarterback still saves money by living like a teenager.

Kirk Cousins’ divisive NFL career

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At a certain point, perception starts to become reality. Unfortunately for Kirk Cousins, plenty of football fans have a less than favorable perception of him.

After playing his college football at Michigan State, Cousins joined the Washington Football Team as a fourth-round draft pick. Despite the presence of Robert Griffin III, Cousins saw plenty of action; he finally claimed the starting job once and for all ahead of the 2015 campaign.

Once he claimed to the top of the depth chart, Cousins started to make a name for himself. While he couldn’t ink a long-term contract—he played on two consecutive franchise tags—the quarterback did post some solid seasons in the nation’s capital. His Washington squads, however, would never be more than mediocre at best.

In 2018, Cousins hit free agency and joined the Minnesota Vikings. His first season was more of the same, as he posted solid numbers on a .500 team, but his second campaign in the NFC North was more fruitful.

With eight professional seasons under his belt, though, Kirk Cousins still divides opinion. Those who look at the quarterback’s record—44-42-2 over the years—say he’s no more than a glorified game manager. Others, citing Cousins’ 24,000 passing yards and 155 touchdowns, believe that he’s a legitimate talent who’s had the misfortune of playing for some pretty poor teams.

Making more than $140 million in the pros

No matter how you assess Kirk Cousins’ NFL career, one thing is clear: the quarterback has made plenty of money during his time in the pros.

According to Spotrac’s financial numbers, Cousins has earned just over $140 million in NFL salary over the years; that number will increase to $196 million by the end of his current contract.

Of the quarterback’s $140 million in earnings, just over $46 million came from the Washington Football Team; while players don’t like being franchise-tagged, those one-year deals do pay quite well. Cousins then signed a three-year, $84 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings before inking a two-year, $66 million extension. Even if you think he’s a game manager, that’s not a bad haul.

Kirk Cousins saves money in a couple of surprising ways

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While we’ve all heard the horror stories of pro athletes blowing through their fortunes, Kirk Cousins doesn’t seem like he’ll have anything to worry about. In addition to his earning power, the quarterback saves money by living like a college kid.

As Clay Skipper explained in a 2017 GQ feature, Cousins spends his summers “in his parents’ basement.” While the location has changed—Skippers’ story made reference to a home in Michigan, but Cousins’ parents have since moved to Florida—the ritual hasn’t changed. With normal offseason training rendered impossible by the coronavirus, the quarterback did his workouts in his parent’s driveway.

Cousins’ car collection also sounds something that would be more at home on a college campus than in a quarterback’s garage. As of 2017, his options included “a 2000 GMC Savana conversion van that he bought [for $5,000] from his grandma—he calls it ‘The Gray Ghost,’ or ‘Gandalf, The Grey’—and the ‘new’ 2006 Mercedes S65 AMG he bought [during the previous] offseason.” The van, in particular, made headlines when he drove it to practice during his time in Washington, D.C.

Even if his tastes change—while we know that Kirk Cousins did go to his parent’s house this offseason, but it’s unclear if he still drives the old conversion van—don’t expect the quarterback to change his lifestyle dramatically. At the end of the day, he knows that football, and its money, can be fleeting.

“You don’t know how long you’re going to play, you’ve got to save every dollar even though you are making a good salary,” he told Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal in 2016. “You never know what’s going to happen, so I try to put as much money away as I can.”

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference