Free agency, Kirk Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons, salary, contract, Saquon Barkley to Philadelphia Eagles, trades, moves, latest, updates

The NFL’s free agency period has already led to several major moves across the board, including star quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Saquon Barkley.

Cousins plans to sign with the Atlanta Falcons and leave the Minnesota Vikings scrambling on a few fronts.

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Cousins, whose contract voids Wednesday, will shift the second-tier balance of power in the NFC after spending the past six seasons in Minnesota.

The four-year deal with the Falcons is worth $180 million, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, which includes $100 million guaranteed and a $50 million signing bonus.

He was the top-ranked free agent on The Post’s top 30, compiled with sources input.

The free-agent quarterback thinned out Sunday, when Baker Mayfield re-signed with the Buccaneers and Russell Wilson signed with the Steelers.

After Cousins, the free-agent options with significant starting experience are Jacoby Brissett and Sam Darnold.

Cousins’ career is a master class in maximising value, as he played under two franchise tags in Washington, parlayed it into a rare fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract in 2018, and later signed on for three more seasons with the Vikings.

Kirk Cousins is on the move to the Falcons. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Playing in the wide-open NFC South, the Falcons are in win-now mode in a under owner Arthur Blank, 81, and trying to recover from the mistake last offseason of not trying to lure Lamar Jackson when he was on the franchise tag and looking for a trade from the Ravens.

Cousins, 35, was playing at one of the highest levels of his career (18 touchdowns, five interceptions) last season before he suffered a torn Achilles.

The Vikings now have to answer their quarterback question.

An option that might have manifested for the Falcons – trading for the Bears’ Justin Fields – seems unlikely since Chicago and Minnesota are division rivals.

Meanwhile, Saquon Barkley’s wish to be a Giant for life will not be granted.

Instead, he has flown the coop and is headed to the Giants’ rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.

The star running back on Monday, the first day of free agency, agreed to a three-year contract to trade blue for green and play for the Eagles.

The deal is worth $37.75 million, The Post confirmed, with a guarantee of $26 million.

Saquon Barkley has left the Giants for a major rival. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Barkley took to X to post a goodbye: “Thank you to everyone who has shown me love and support over the past 6 years … forever grateful! Excited for the next chapter.”

This will not sit well with Giants fans who bought Barkley’s No. 26 jersey and now will see him play for an NFC East opponent that they despise.

Thus ends what must be viewed as an unfulfilling six-year stay for Barkley with the Giants, the team that went against traditional positional value protocols and took him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

That decision was made by the Dave Gettleman front office.

The current front office, led by general manager Joe Schoen, wanted to retain Barkley but refused to financially extend beyond what today’s market for running backs indicated Barkley should be paid.

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and has been reposted with permission

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