Kirk Cousins Trade Rumors Take a Big Hit

Kirk Cousins Wins Award Named after Packers QB
Image Courtesy of

If you were theorizing or hoping Kirk Cousins would be traded this offseason, the most popular team associated with a possible deal seemed to ruin the dream.

The San Francisco 49ers employ Trey Lance and Brock Purdy at quarterback, and Lance is the guy who 49ers brass sold the farm for two years ago.

Kirk Cousins Trade Rumors Take a Big Hit

And San Francisco’s QB room thickened Monday as the club signed veteran Sam Darnold as insurance for the Lance-Purdy duo.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted on the first day of free agency, “49ers reached agreement on a one-year deal with former Panthers’ QB Sam Darnold, per source.”

The move for Darnold arrives as the 49ers also signed a premiere defender Monday, Javon Hargrave, from the Philadelphia Eagles. The deal was reportedly for four years and $84 million, orchestrated by a team with $3.7 million available in cap space entering the day. San Francisco is severely unlikely to sign a defensive tackle for $84 million, land a quarterback in Darnold, and turn around to acquire Cousins in 2023.

Vikings Fans Have Majority
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins-to-49ers has been a nonstop theory for many in the last 3-4 offseasons because of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s ardor for the Vikings quarterback. “To say that my prototypical guy is someone like Kirk Cousins. I mean, that’s just, everyone knows my history with Kirk. We drafted him in the 4th round in Washington,”Β Shanahan saidΒ in 2021.

“I got to coach him for three games. And then, we were fired, I left, I thought we’d have a chance to get him [in San Francisco] in free agency, and I would have loved to have him in free agency until Jimmy came along the year before. Because I thought we could have won with him, just like Minnesota has,” Shanahan opined two years ago.

And such comments fuel some Vikings media members to float the Cousins-49ers trade annually — and sometimes daily. This was from 2022:

And this year:

Moreover, on the 49ers financial side of operations — in addition to operating with $3.7 million in cap space — San Francisco utilizes Christian McCaffrey, a running back earning $16 million per season. It doesn’t quite add up to pay Cousins $35-$40 million per season, McCaffrey $16 million, Deebo Samuel $23.9 million, and Hargrave $21 million — while also signing Darnold as the QB contingency plan for Lance’s and Purdy’s injury history.

3 Takeaways from Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins’ deal with the Vikings is scheduled to run out after 2023, and the 49ers can sign the man on the open market if they please in 2024. And that’s if the trade theory is even quasi-realistic in the first place. The 49ers have no need to trade draft capital for Cousins in 2023 when they can sign him outright in 12 months.

Vikings owner Mark Wilf joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show Monday and told the panel about Cousins’ future with the Vikings, “Kirk’s an outstanding quarterback. He’s done a great job for us. This past season with Kevin O’Connell he took our offense to the next level. So, we’re looking for great things in 2023. Kirk’s going to be the leader on our offense.”

None of this — at all — the Hargrave deal, Darnold’s new home, and Wilf’s comments sound like the precursor to a Vikings-49ers trade. The dream trade appears dead for a fourth straight year.

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