The regular season could change that calculation some, but the contract extension that Detroit's Matthew Stafford a agreed to this week signals once more that Cousins was right to bet on himself by not signing a long-term deal with the Redskins.
Stafford built on the deal given to Oakland's Derek Carr in July and will earn a record $60.5 million fully guaranteed at signing that by March will push to $86 million guaranteed.
That will be music to Cousins' ears. He already earned $19.5 million on the franchise tag last season and will make $23.9 million this year.
The Redskins must use the tag again for a third and final time at $34.4 million, the transition tag at $28.7 million or let Cousins hit true free agency in March.
The Lions made it worth Stafford's while to sign an extension potentially worth $151 million. Cousins saw no reason to do so before this summer's July 17 deadline.
Given that the salary cap could rise close to $175 million next season, there is money in the system to pay Cousins if he hits free agency plus a desperate need for teams around the league at quarterback.
Washington made an offer that included $53 million fully guaranteed to Cousins on May 2, with up to $72 million guaranteed in case of injury.
The contracts procured by Carr and Stafford -- with Atlanta's Matt Ryan eligible for an extension after this season -- show why Cousins and agent Mike McCartney decided to wait and spurned Washington's offer.
The Redskins breathed a sigh of relief when tight end Jordan Reed returned to game action on Sunday and played 18 snaps with no setbacks to his sore big toe.
That injury kept Reed for most of training camp until he was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list last week. He will not play in the preseason finale Thursday at Tampa Bay.
Reed caught two passes on four targets for 12 yards in Sunday's win over Cincinnati.
Washington running back Chris Thompson isn't mentioned in the battle for a starting running back spot, but he remains a critical part of one of the NFL's top offenses last season.
Thompson had only three carries for nine yards in Sunday's win over Cincinnati.
But while Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine have earned more attention this preseason, Thompson's one big play against the Bengals reminded everyone of his role: A 27-yard gain off a short swing pass during a second-quarter scoring drive.
"I think we can expand Chris' role if we want to," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "It's just he's so good at the third-down role that I just want to keep him there.
"He's a very valuable commodity to our football team, both in pass protection and getting out on the routes. The thought of him not being around scares the heck out of me."
Looking at the roster:
Linebacker Ryan Anderson continues to feel the effects of a stinger. He has not played or practiced since the first preseason game against Baltimore on Aug. 10 and his status for the season opener is in doubt.
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld will play all four quarters of Thursday's preseason game against Tampa Bay. A 2016 sixth-round draft pick, Sudfeld did not play in the third preseason game against Cincinnati.
Outside linebacker Junior Galette played 21 snaps on Sunday in his first game action since the 2015 preseason. Galette missed the past two regular seasons because of torn Achilles tendons, and a hamstring injury kept him out of Washington's first two preseason games this summer. He will not play Thursday in the preseason finale vs. Tampa Bay.
Inside linebacker Will Compton sat out Tuesday's practice because of a chest contusion.