Sports

Kirk Cousins Rumors: Latest Buzz on Former Redskins QB’s Top Free-Agent Options

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 31: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins in action against the New York Giants on December 31, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 18-10. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

As one of the biggest names on the free-agent market, former Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins hasn’t exactly dominated the headlines since the legal-tampering period opened Monday. 

Even for a position like quarterback, it has been slow going on the rumor mill while the world waits on the somewhat odd saga that is New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees taking a trip to free agency and headlining the class. 

A slow process doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad one for Cousins, though, especially not when taking into account the possible financial figures behind his next deal, as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: 

Not bad considering Cousins already pocketed two franchise tags’ worth of cash from the Redskins and might have had another had the team not struck up a deal to trade for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. 

The lack of a tag means the 29-year-old is free to pursue a deal with teams such as the Arizona Cardinals, a locale he apparently has a particular affinity for, per Rapoport: 

Arizona is far from the only place ready to have an interest in Cousins, though. Mike Klis of 9News Denver reported the Denver Broncos could enter the fray, and ESPN’s Dianna Russini noted the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings could also be involved. 

All of the possible destinations make sense. The Cardinals have to move on from the Carson Palmer era, Denver still needs to find a franchise passer to round out a win-now roster, the Jets also need a franchise passer and those Vikings just rode Case Keenum to the playoffs and are hungry for more. 

Cousins could fit any one of these specific needs, even if he did even out last year while completing 64.3 percent of his passes with 27 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. The team around him, featuring a new cast of weapons, stuttered more than he did. 

While all of this sounds good, one of the other major factors in a fit for the QB is one we can’t assume will simply fall into place—finances. 

Simply put, teams have to be willing to cough up the money he wants for things to work out. And based on a comment from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, the monetary value being where Cousins wants it isn’t such a sure thing: 

Looking at the grand scheme of things, this really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Cousins is a quality starter, but a career 65.5 percent passer with 99 touchdowns and 55 interceptions is more Andy Dalton than it is high-upside guy who can uplift the roster around him.

At some point, the open market has to balk at the idea of resetting the quarterback market again, and it might be here with Cousins perhaps flirting with a guaranteed deal. 

The other options on the market aren’t helping Cousins’ case, either. Teams can look to Keenum and Sam Bradford, proven guys with experience. They can take a high-upside gamble on a Teddy Bridgewater comeback, or they can even bank on the idea AJ McCarron can turn into a viable starter when actually given the chance. 

And all of those guys will do significantly less damage to a team’s cap space. 

This isn’t to suggest Cousins will have a hard time finding a new home when the market opens Wednesday, but it’s clearly going to take some sort of balancing act financially for him to end up where he most prefers. 

Despite the money situation, Cousins likely still has his pick of the top destinations, provided something unprecedented doesn’t happen with Brees. Like most, though, he’s stuck in a mini holding pattern until his preferred options see what happens with the guy above him.