If Kirk Goes to the Jets, a True FANTASY Scenario Could Play Out!

Bad Defense
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball against Chicago Bears during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins to the New York Jets via midseason trade — it’s the newest, daily Minnesota Vikings rumor that simply isn’t going away until either the New York Jets make a move at the quarterback position or the Vikings start winning and get back into the playoff mix.

If Kirk Goes to the Jets, a True FANTASY Scenario Could Play Out!

Until one of those two things happens, get comfortable because the conversation is only going to be fueled by the relentless New York media.

I mean, it makes too much sense. Until it doesn’t.

Just this week, on the heels of the Vikings falling to 0-3 and the New York Jets dropping their second game in a row, we’ve got Adam Schefter and Joe Namath sounding off on the state of the Jets quarterback position. While Schefter took the analytical approach, explaining on the Pat McAfee Show how it might make sense given the contractual reality that Kirk’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, making him the perfect “rent-a-player” for a team that had very high Super Bowl aspirations heading into the season.

Goes to the Jets
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during warmups against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

For Joe Namath, his discussion on the topic was a little more emotional.

“It was awful,” Namath said of Zach Wilson’s performance in the Jets 15-10 loss to the Patriots this last Sunday. “I didn’t take anything positive out of it.”

So the rumor mill rages on.

I’ve long been a strict proponent of the Vikings keeping Kirk Cousins, largely because they have no other option, but most recently looking at how the move might impact the future of the organization’s star player, Justin Jefferson. But for a moment, let’s suspend reality and analyze how the trade might impact both organizations past the 2023 season.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) under center against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

For the Vikings, if the downward spiral continues towards the middle of the season, the option to trade Kirk away becomes closer to reality, and the Jets could remain the top suiter. But what’s the price? The Jets don’t have a first-round pick in 2024, and the full scope of the Rodgers trade will not fall into place until after next season, so any future pick would likely come from New York’s 2025 draft options. That is what it is. If Kirk is not in the future plans for the team, get what you can before he walks at the end of the season.

But what about the Jets?

Clearly, with Kirk replacing Zach Wilson, New York vaults right back into the hunt for a Super Bowl chase. But is there future viability to bringing Kirk in for a long-term play? Comparing the careers of Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers would be silly, but looking into the future, which quarterback might help keep that championship window open the longest for the Jets?

There was so much hype surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ move to New York this offseason that his awful 2022 season has almost been completely forgotten. Sure, he lost Davante Adams, but Rodgers, a quarterback who has been known for elevating young receivers into stars, just wasn’t good last season. 2022 saw Rodgers pass for the lowest number of yards for a full season in his entire career. He threw only 26 touchdowns, nearly a low point in his career as a starter, and threw 12 interceptions, the most since his first year as a starter for the Packers (13). That led to a career-low 91.1 passer rating and a below .500 record for the Packers.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) throws the ball as Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano (58) tackles him during the first half of the home opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

But there’s more to factor in here as well.

First, Aaron Rodgers will turn 40 in December this year. That’s not a death knell for quarterbacks in the league, but he’s already shown signs of career degradation, so it becomes a fair question. Furthermore, he just suffered a torn Achilles. That’s an injury that ends the careers of young players and can certainly hamper all players’ abilities. So, while Rodgers is contemplating a speedy return for the playoffs with this expedited procedure stuff, the Jets should realistically be contemplating whether or not he’ll ever be able to return, and if he does, what will it look like?

So, then, there’s Kirk. He’s 35, consistently productive, and has been the picture of good health and toughness under center. His past two seasons have been right on par with Rodgers’, statistically speaking, and he might have more left in the tank for a team that might have a 2-3 year window to chase a ring. The knocks against Kirk are largely surrounding primetime performances. But were all those struggles on him? Would he function better behind a higher-functioning offensive line? Would he work better if he didn’t have to win a shootout each week to cover for insufficient defenses? Common sense says yes, but we won’t really know unless something happens to change the situation.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands the ball off to running back Alexander Mattison (2) against the Los Angeles Chargers in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

You have to get over the stigmas that travel with both names, but would Kirk Cousins give the Jets more of a fighting chance over the next three years than Aaron Rodgers?

Financials and contractual nuances will also factor in here. No matter what, the Jets will owe Rodgers a large sum of money going forward. Could they harbor the load of two quarterback salaries at the same time? And Kirk has a no-trade clause that could factor in here also. We know he likes it here in Minnesota. Would he be willing to waive that clause if the writing was on the wall heading toward free agency this offseason?

And then there’s the fun one, the double agent sort of plan that some on Twitter are bringing up. What if the Vikings trade Kirk to the Jets for future draft compensation; Kirk goes to New York to help them for the 2023 season before moving aside for Rodgers in 2024; then Kirk is free to re-sign with the Vikings again during the free agency period, and all is right with the world?! Truly a fantasy football scenario playing out in real life here, but it could happen!