Kirk Cousins Trade Destinations with Denver off the Board

Updated Kirk Cousins Trade Destinations with Denver off the Board
Kirk Cousins

The Denver Broncos rattled mountains on Tuesday, acquiring Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks for a Herschel Walker-like trade package.

The Minnesota Vikings could be offloading their QB1 this offseason, and Denver was near the top of the list for Cousins’ landing spots due to existing relationships between Vikings and Broncos management personnel.

The Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes will live on until he is traded, extended, or agreed upon for one more solo season. And after the Broncos-Wilson rim-rocker, these are the most likely franchise to land Cousins if a trade occurs (ranked in ascending order of likelihood).

8. New Orleans Saints

Cousins Theorized to Different NFC Team in 2022
Kirk Cousins

The Saints will navigate life without Drew Brees and Sean Payton, a twosome that held down the fort for a decade and a half. But they need a quarterback, especially if the team doesn’t perceive Jameis Winston as salvation.

New Orleans is “low” on this list because its salary cap situation is dire. The Saints likely cannot afford an expensive quarterback — or expensive anything — but if the Seahawks are willing to eat $26 million in dead cap amid the Russell Wilson trade, NFL teams are capable of anything to get their man.

A Saints-Cousins trade would leave the Vikings will no clear-cut QB1.

7. Houston Texans

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you can totally exclude your morality from sports — good luck — this would be the deal that lands Deshaun Watson with the Vikings. Soon, Watson and his camp should have legal clarity, enabling the 26-year-old to resume his NFL career (although he’ll likely be suspended for some period of time in 2022).

Minnesota would be the “giver” in this deal, packaging Cousins and draft picks to Houston for Watson. VikingsTerritory emphatically doesn’t endorse this one because of Watson’s alleged suspect character. But if the man is somehow exonerated, anything is possible. Watson doesn’t want to play for the Texans, and the Vikings may perceive Cousins as too rich for their blood. That creates “natural” trade partners.

6. Carolina Panthers

Kirk Cousins. Image Courtesy of @locktominny on Twitter.

Cousins-to-Carolina chatter heated up a few weeks ago, although the Panthers reportedly laughed at the deal.

What they should be laughing at? Their recent quarterback choices in Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, and diminished Cam Newton. Tapping those men for duty is cause for giggles.

Cousins is not giggle-worthy. He is not an elite quarterback, but he’s around the 11th-best passer worldwide. If the “Panthers laughing” reports are false, Cousins as a Panther adds up as Carolina continues its crusade to find a consistent QB1.

5. Indianapolis Colts

Oct 13, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Carson Wentz decayed down the stretch of the 2021 season, forcing the Colts to miss the postseason after feeling like a shoo-in during Week 17 and 18. Indianapolis will not rest until it finds a stable quarterback. It’s an eternal quest after the exoduses of Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.

The Colts are a team in which a competent QB1 can be inserted in the depth chart — and the team can gallop to the playoffs. Cousins could guide Indianapolis to a playoff berth. Frank Reich’s team is structurally sound, only needing a reliable passer. Wentz used to be reliable; he isn’t anymore.

For the most part, Cousins is dependable.

4. Seattle Seahawks

Jan 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Look who suddenly has draft capital.

It’s the Seahawks — with Drew Lock as the QB1 in early March. Seattle needs a quarterback to cure the post-Wilson hangover. They’re not used to struggling after 10 wonderful seasons of Wilson’s dominance.

Throughout history, the Vikings and Seahawks have traded a lot, and Seattle has gobs of draft capital after the Denver transaction. Cousins in Seattle would keep the franchise relevant if it doesn’t fancy a rebuild.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jan 16, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady ain’t coming back. The roster, which will indeed encounter some turnover, is decent enough to push toward the playoffs. But they won’t do so with Kyle Trask.

If Tampa Bay wants to maintain a quasi-Super-contending lifestyle, trading for Cousins checks some boxes. Arians is an offense guy and could achieve a winning record with Cousins.

Like Seattle, if Tampa Bay wants to stay in the mix, Cousins is a pathway.

2. Cleveland Browns

Nov 28, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland is a sound option due to existing relationships. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah worked for the Browns two months ago. He knows folks in the building. Kevin Stefanski is the skipper, and he coached Cousins to his peak performance in 2019.

Baker Mayfield may or may not be good, and perhaps the Browns don’t want to wait around for his maturation.

Mainly because of convenient entanglements, Cousins-to-Cleveland is plausible. There are buddies and relationships all over the place for this hypothetical trade.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

A few times this offseason, Pittsburgh brass has stated “all options are on the table” after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. Cousins would inherit a fantastic wide receiver corps, Najee Harris, a usually-dependable Steelers defense — and Mike Tomlin, a habitual winner.

The Steelers are the frontrunner to land Cousins’ services because they have $30 million in cap space and may not want to trust the enterprise to a rabble-rouser, Mason Rudolph.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His YouTube Channel, VikesNow, debuts in March 2022. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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