The 3 (Somewhat) Realistic Teams that Could be Interested in a Kirk Cousins Trade

Right off the top, I’ll acknowledge my actual opinion: I don’t believe a Kirk Cousins trade is going to happen.

In fact, I’m of the belief that Kirk Cousins’ purple career is closer to middle-aged than it is to senior status. An extension seems like a distinct possibility. If that occurs, Cousins could be the QB1 for at least another 2 or 3 seasons.

Regardless, the rumors continue to swirl. Quite often, it’s the San Francisco 49ers that are mentioned as the destination, but that’s not going to happen. Sure, Trey Lance and Brock Purdy present some uncertainty, but they also present massive upside (especially given the cost-controlled deals).

The prospective squads, then, exclude Kyle Shanahan’s juggernaut of a team. Instead, I’ll highlight 3 teams that are plausible due to their need for a QB and available financial resources. Teams looking for success in the short term are given added weight.

A Kirk Cousins Trade

Team #1 – The New York Jets

Robert Saleh has built an impressive defense. Quite often, the praise gets directed at Sauce Gardner, the rookie CB who quickly blossomed into one of the NFL’s best corners. That being said, we’d be wise to keep an eye what’s going on up front. Quinnen Williams is a remarkable defensive lineman.

The issue for New York, of course, is that their offense leaves a lot to be desired. Unless something completely unforeseen happens, Zach Wilson won’t be the QB solution in New York.

Zach Wilson Whispers
Jan 9, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Before landing in Minnesota, Kirk Cousins flirted with the Jets. In fact, the back-and-forth with the Jets helped Cousins to have more leverage when negotiating his initial deal with the Vikings. Roughly around the 7-minute mark in the short documentary that’s linked above, Cousins acknowledges that the Jets offer helps give him extra ammo in his pursuit of a deal he loves.

What are the chances that, when it’s all said and done, Cousins could end up slinging passes for the Jets?

The Jets are close to even with their salary cap, a strong position when we compare them to the Vikings’ and their roughly $25 million deficit. The Jets own the 13th pick in the draft.

Team #2 – The Carolina Panthers

Frank Reich is now the man in charge in Carolina.

Earlier in the year, we saw the Vikings complete the greatest comeback in NFL history by overcoming a 33-point hole. The QB who held the previous record was Reich, who contacted Cousins to send along his congratulations.

7 Possible Free Agent
Jan 31, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich speaks at his introductory press conference at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

What are the chances to two will join forces for the Panthers?

Carolina currently has negative cap space (roughly a $9 million deficit). However, they’re like several other NFL teams insofar as they’re staring down a number of decisions that can greatly expand that budget. Sam Darnold is going to be a free agent and Baker Mayfield didn’t work out. The current QB1 may be Matt Corral.

In other words, Carolina could use some help at quarterback. Their offensive head coach may welcome the veteran stability.

Team #3 – The Las Vegas Raiders

Kirk Cousins in Las Vegas seems like an odd fit, but what about Kirko Chainz? The bling-wearing, clutch-TD-throwing alter ego of Minnesota’s QB1 makes at least some sense for the Raiders.

Josh McDaniels is coming off a brutal first season in LV. Derek Carr is going to be playing elsewhere; one has to think that another lousy season could mean that McDaniels is the one looking for a new team.

Dec 24, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) scrambles with the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

LV currently boasts some impressive skill, led by Davante Adams (who had 100 catches, 1516 yards, and 14 TDs last year despite all the craziness), Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller. It’s possible that all three don’t survive the Raiders roster shuffle heading into 2023, but it’s an impressive group that has the capacity to put up elite production. Retaining Josh Jacobs would make the offensive talent even more formidable.

Currently, they have nearly $20 million in cap space. Moving on from Carr will free up $29.25 million. Money won’t be an issue and there is a lot of pressure to win.

Trading Kirk Cousins – who threw for 4547 yards, 29 TDs, and 14 INTs in his first season with Kevin O’Connell – would leave behind $18.75 million in dead money while liberating $17.5 million on the cap.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece. This piece originally appeared on PurplePTSD.