The Comprehensive List of Kirk Cousins Trade Destinations

PurplePTSD: Cousins Evidently Had a Terrible Game
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Let’s get this out of the way — the Minnesota Vikings are unlikely to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins before the October 31st deadline.

Cousins owns a no-trade clause, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that the 35-year-old probably won’t waive it this season.

The Comprehensive List of Kirk Cousins Trade Destinations

But the NFL is a fast-moving business, and if Cousins changes his mind or circumstances change around the league, these are the six places Cousins could end up via trade. They’re ranked in order of likelihood (No. 1 = most likely).

6. Tennessee Titans

List of Kirk
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Why They Need Cousins: On the outskirts of the Cousins rumor mill, some have suggested Tennessee would welcome the 35-year-old with open arms because he’s a noticeable upgrade over Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, and Will Levis. In theory, Cousins would assuredly make the Titans better.

Why They Won’t Get Cousins: Tennessee hasn’t even pivoted to Malik Willis and Will Levis yet at QB1. If the Titans sour on Tannehill, they’ll likely try their homegrown products before trading draft capital for Cousins. Willis did get some action after a Tannehill injury in Week 6, and he looked terrible.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

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Why They Need Cousins: Kenny Pickett’s development majorly hiccuped in the first five games of 2023, and frankly, he looks awful. Cousins could guide Pittsburgh to the postseason and perhaps wind down his career with Tomlin and friends.

Why They Won’t Get Cousins: The Steelers won’t mail it in on Pickett after 17 career starts. That’s panicky and unbecoming of the Steeler way. They should try firing Matt Canada before trading for Cousins.

4. New York Jets

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Why They Need Cousins: Zach Wilson is about 12 games from formally getting labeled as an all-time bust, and the Jets defense is good enough to win now. Everything’s in place — except a trustworthy quarterback.

Why They Won’t Get Cousins: The Jets have already sunk oodles of draft capital into the Aaron Rodgers trade. Investing more is too risky. Meanwhile, Rodgers keeps saying he’ll return from a torn Achilles in a couple of months, which would mark the fastest Achilles recovery in human history. Cousins-to-Jets makes sense in a video game but not in real life.

3. New England Patriots

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick walks off the field at Ray Nitschke Field following joint practice with the Green Bay Packers. August 17, 2023. © Kassidy Hill / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Why They Need Cousins: In theory, the Vikings could trade Cousins to New England, he could sign a three-year extension in the process, and bam, Belichick has a productive quarterback for the remainder of his tenure. The Patriots chances of becoming relevant this season are low — like the Vikings — but Cousins would certainly enhance the QB1 spot on New England’s depth chart.

Why They Won’t Get Cousins: The Patriots are 1-5, and New England is notoriously stubborn at switching things up midstream. Would Cousins really save the Patriots season, which is probably teetering on 1-6 or so by the trade deadline? Nope.

2. Atlanta Falcons

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Why They Need Cousins: If winning the NFC South is “enough” for the Falcons to get excited, yes, trading for Cousins adds up. Cousins could give Bijan Robinson the rock 25-30 times per game — and maybe even throw the football to Kyle Pitts and Drake London, which the Falcons rarely do.

Why They Won’t Get Cousins: Desmond Ridder hasn’t been benched, so Atlanta hasn’t taken a peek at Taylor Heinicke. It seems like the Dirty Birds might do that before trading high-round draft capital for Cousins. What’s more, the Falcons can just sign Cousins outright in free agency five months from now, so why spend the draft picks?

1. San Francisco 49ers

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Why They Need Cousins: If the unthinkable happens — the 49ers almost impeccable season is derailed by a Brock Purdy injury — you better believe Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch would ponder calling their old friend, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

The 49ers have been linked to the Kirk Cousins-themed rumor mill since 2020 or so, mainly because Shanahan adores Cousins. San Francisco feels like it’s on a steady march to the Super Bowl, and if Purdy gets knocked out in the next two weeks, Lynch would probably call Adofo-Mensah.

Why They Won’t Get Cousins: Purdy, generally speaking, is unlikely to get hurt, and the 49ers won’t need Cousins. But if there were a team to pique Cousins’ no-trade clause interest, it would probably be this iteration of 49ers.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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