4 Landing Spots for QB Kirk Cousins if He Leaves the Vikings in 2024

Vikings Allegedly Said
Oct 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks on before the start of a game against the Washington Redskins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports.

As of right now, it appears that everything is trending towards Vikings QB Kirk Cousins entering free agency next offseason. The Vikings are working towards putting together a younger roster, there is no sign of a contract extension coming between Cousins and Minnesota, and the team has already let a number of veterans walk in free agency this spring.

If the assumption that Cousins will suit up in a new uniform next offseason is correct, here are 4 potential landing spots for the current Vikings starting quarterback.

San Francisco 49ers

Dec 24, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan walks onto he field before the start of the third quarter against the Washington Commanders at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

Perhaps this is the way to finally reunite Cousins with his former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after all these years of rumors. For Cousins’ first two NFL seasons in Washington, Shanahan was his OC, and he gained a respect for Cousins over those two years. This respect for Cousins’ game enticed him to try and bring Cousins to the Bay Area when the QB entered free agency back in 2018.

As of now, the 49ers have no clear path forward at the quarterback position. They drafted Trey Lance with the third overall pick back in 2021, but he has made just four career starts over his first two seasons. This is largely due to an ankle injury that ended his season in Week 2 of the 2022 regular season. However, strong play from Brock Purdy down the stretch of the season has to put his name into consideration for the starting job, and they recently signed Sam Darnold to join the mix as well.

With no clear-cut path forward, and uncertainty regarding Lance’s true potential as well as Purdy’s ability to recreate that 2022 magic, perhaps Cousins’ final act can be with the coordinator that brought him up at the NFL level.

Baltimore Ravens

Nov 27, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) enters the field prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports.

The longer this saga involving Lamar Jackson’s contract wears on, the higher the likelihood that he won’t suit up in a Ravens uniform for much longer. Jackson has made it very clear that he is betting on himself in order to maximize his earnings in the NFL, and ironically, this is the exact path that Cousins took that landed him in Minnesota following his tenure in Washington.

The biggest problem with attempting to replace Jackson with Cousins is that it would require a complete flip in offensive identity. Right now, the Ravens offense is largely built around Jackson using his legs to make plays while Cousins is obviously most effective when throwing in a clean pocket. This would require Baltimore to spend draft capital to improve their offensive line as well as their wide receiver group. It is certainly a tough ask, but not impossible over the next couple years.

Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) looks for a receiver against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. Nfl Indianapolis Colts At Tennessee Titans

The Titans are another team that appears to be heading into 2023 and beyond without much of a plan at the quarterback position. As of now, Tannehill’s contract is set to expire following the 2023 season, and what we have seen to this point with Malik Willis has been uninspiring.

That doesn’t mean Willis can’t be better in 2023, and if that is the case for the 2022 third-round pick, it will effectively take the Titans off this list. However, as of right now, there is no true long-term plan at QB, and Tennessee has a whopping $144 million in cap space for 2024, per Over the Cap.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Anonymous NFL Exec Claims
Dec 25, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Tom Brady hasn’t shown any sign of backing out of this retirement, and that leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with two quarterbacks on their roster: 2021 Draft pick Kyle Trask and recent free agency acquisition Baker Mayfield. Trask has thrown exactly nine passes at the NFL level over his first two seasons, and Mayfield is now on his fourth team since 2021. Neither of these options inspire much confidence for Tampa’s chances in 2023.

However, things could very well change in 2024. Currently, Over the Cap has Tampa sitting with a tad over $70 million in cap space next offseason, and if they want to try to compete with teams like the Saints who signed Derek Carr and the Panthers who likely will draft a QB with the No. 1 overall pick this spring, Cousins could be an option.