A Dark Horse Emerges for Any Lingering Kirk Cousins Trade Scenarios

9 Looming Predictions
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The 2023 NFL Draft is 23 days away, and if any major Minnesota Vikings trades occur, that’ll be the likely venue.

Current quarterback Kirk Cousins is probably safe for a sixth season leading the Vikings, but stranger things have happened than a Cousins trade in the draft.

A Dark Horse Emerges for Any Lingering Kirk Cousins Trade Scenarios

And if that scenario shakes out at the end of the month, a dark horse suitor for Cousins’ services has emerged — the New England Patriots.

Any Lingering Kirk
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Based on roster need alone, Cousins could fit in New England. And this week, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Bill Belichick is becoming disenchanted with quarterback Mac Jones. “Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Belichick has shopped Jones to multiple teams during the 2023 offseason. The full list of potential destinations isn’t known. The teams mentioned as potential destinations were the Raiders, Texans, Buccaneers, and Commanders,” Florio wrote.

“Obviously, a trade hasn’t occurred yet. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. A team hoping to draft a quarterback could pivot to Jones, if that team doesn’t get the guy it wants. The Raiders are the ones to keep watching. Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract lands in the low-end of middle class for starters, and Jones has two years left under a slotted rookie deal, before his fifth-year option would apply,” Florio continued.

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Of course, Cousins isn’t on Florio’s list, but if there is any semblance of reality to a Cousins trade, the Vikings should be on the Patriots trade ledger. Belichick will be 71 this month and probably has an “I have to win now” mindset. Restarting the clock with a Mac Jones-ish draft pick would feel like a nonstarter for the remaining years of Belichick’s illustrious career.

The “problem” with a Vikings-Patriots trade could be the compensation, however. Would the Vikings want Jones as their quarterback of the future? Probably not. Jones seems like a challenging character at times, especially last year, and that’s likely why Belichick has allegedly picked up the phone for trade correspondence. Jones would have to go somewhere, and that somewhere isn’t the Vikings.

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What the Vikings do need is draft capital, particularly if they’re interested in trading up the 2023 draft board for a C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson. Theoretically, Vikings boss Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could trade Cousins to New England for a notable draft pick or two — and then flips those assets, plus the Vikings No. 23 pick to a team like the Philadelphia Eagles or Detroit Lions, who pick in the Top 10 this year.

Moreover, the Patriots produced the NFL’s third-best defense in 2022 per DVOA. Partnering Cousins, who records 4,000+ passing yards and 30+ passing touchdowns annually, with a mean Patriots defense — plus the mind of Belichick — could net dividends for a team seeking to replicate the success that disappeared when Tom Brady bolted for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Overall, the Patriots evidently want a new quarterback — one better than Jones — and the Vikings employ a quarterback on the final year of his contract.

If Belichick wanted Cousins, a deal could work.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.