The top-rated NFL free agents for 2018 – Washington Post

Kirk Cousins has played at a very high level while on the franchise tag. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The 2017 season is a lost cause for approximately a third of the league at this point. That means it’s a good time to start looking forward to what can be done to fix that over the course of offseason. The cap is once again expected to make a sizable leap in the upcoming league year, which means pay days abound.

Here are the guys who made themselves the most money by exceeding expectations this season.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins

Cousins took a sizable risk when betting on himself by playing on a one-year franchise deal once again. Losing your top two receivers (Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson) can spell doom for many quarterbacks, but it’s been business as usual for Cousins even as his offensive line has been decimated by injuries.

The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8) and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one. Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.

Case Keenum, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Keenum signed a one-year, $2 million deal last offseason as purely a stopgap in case the worst happened to Sam Bradford before Teddy Bridgewater finally got healthy. Not much from Keenum’s past suggested he was worth anything more than that. Before 2017, he had a sub-60-percent career completion percentage with 38 Turnover Worthy Throws (TWTs) compared to only 35 Big Time Throws (BTTs). The ratio of BTTs to TWTs is over 2.0 for most elite quarterbacks and anything under 1.0 is non-starter level. This season he has 14 BTTs compared to

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