The Panthers Reportedly Thought Kirk Cousins Trade Talk Was a Joke

Kirk Cousins. Image Courtesy of @locktominny on Twitter.

Aaron Rodgers ended the habitual offseason drama and returned home to Green Bay on Tuesday. Russell Wilson took his unlimited talents to the mountains. And the Vikings have no resolution yet on their QB1 Kirk Cousins, who is scheduled to incur a $45 million cap hit against the Minnesota Vikings books in 2022.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago, the Carolina Panthers were rumored as contenders in the Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes, needing a quarterback after recent plans involving Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Cam Newton, and Sam Darnold flopped. In theory, Cousins’ ability to toss 4,000+ passing yards and 30+ touchdowns like clockwork would stabilize the post-Newton strife at quarterback in Carolina.

However, when those Cousins-to-Panthers rumors dusted up in February, Carolina brass apparently laughed off the idea, according to the Charlotte Observer.

On Monday, Jonathan Alexander from the Charlotte Observer wrote about the Cousins-Panthers alleged hoopla:

Also, while there were reports that the Panthers inquired about Cousins in Minnesota, two sources said that call never occurred. The coaching staff and front office were actually in a meeting when they heard the news and laughed it off.

Jonathan Alexander | Charlotte Observer

So, the notion Cousins was even remotely on the Panthers radar might’ve just been fake — or the Panthers are trying to be coy about the trade market.

Cousins is locked in a standoff at the moment with the Vikings — at least from the perspective outside of TCO Performance Center — as the Vikings probably don’t want to invest $40+ million annually in the quarterback. Yet, every time Cousins’ deal is up for renegotiation, he and his agent seem to have upper-echelon dollars on the brain. That’s how capitalism works; that’s how the NFL works.

If Cousins and the Vikings cannot meet in the middle — and the Vikings don’t break the bank on the quarterback — a trade is potentially on the horizon. A handful of teams still need to solidify QB1 plans, and Cousins could fill the job aptly.

As for the Panthers, well, they’ll either tap the 2022 NFL Draft for a starting quarterback, give it another whirl with Darnold or Newton, or continue to laugh at teams’ trade offers. Carolina showcased a fabulous defense in 2021, so the franchise shouldn’t be too far away from the postseason — especially with Tom Brady and Russell Wilson exiting the conference.

The Vikings have one week to become salary-cap compliant, underwater at the moment by about $15 million.

The Panthers have roughly $31 million to play around with as free agency approaches.

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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