Momentum Builds for Kirk Cousins to New Team

PFN Envisions
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The Minnesota Vikings have until around March 11th to decide on quarterback Kirk Cousins’ future with the team, meaning the clock is counting down at 52 days.

The NFL’s “legal tampering” phase begins on that day, so that’s the defacto deadline on a Cousins extension in Minnesota.

Momentum Builds for Kirk Cousins to New Team

And if Cousins hits free agency — the outcome is truly a coinflip as of January 19th — momentum is building for Cousins to become the next quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. The NFC South club will have a new coach in mere days, probably Bill Belichick — and Cousins has ties to Georgia through marriage. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s quarterback experiment involving Desmond Ridder and former Viking Taylor Heinicke wildly flopped in 2023. The Falcons likely need a new quarterback, whether a free agent like Cousins or a rookie in the draft.

Builds for Kirk Cousins
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If the Belichick hire materializes, there’s a decent chance that he’ll want to “win now” — Belichick isn’t young and could have an expedited plan in Atlanta at QB1 accordingly — possibly disregarding the rookie quarterback alternative. Cousins is set to become the NFL’s top free-agent quarterback if he doesn’t reunite with the Vikings, and voila, the world has a connection between Cousins and the Falcons.

Interestingly, Isabel Gonzalez asked Cousins point-blank this week if he’d play for Belichick, and the 35-year-old’s answer was surprisingly straightforward. “I’m not going to turn down an opportunity to play with a future Hall of Fame coach, but we’ll have to see where March leads, there’s just a lot of unknowns right now,” Cousins replied.

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.

In Cousins-speak, that’s a yes, I’d happily sign with the Falcons.

Here’s the video:

A working theory suggests the Vikings want Cousins back in 2024 but at a team-friendly price that enables financial flexibility. The number is likely between $30-$40 million per year. In Atlanta, in theory, Cousins could swat away any discount narrative and command $40+ million annually.

Conversely, not everyone is enamored with Cousins-to-Atlanta speculation. Nick Halden of Blogging Dirty, a Falcons-themed website, listed Cousins as a candidate to lead Atlanta in 2024 but sounded unenthused by the marriage, “Something about Kirk Cousins and Bill Belichick just seems like a marriage doomed to fail. However, we must include who is unquestionably the best quarterback set to hit free agency at the start of the new league year. Cousins is the best quarterback on the market and would give the Falcons a level of play they haven’t seen for four years.”

Before his season-ending Achilles injury in October, Cousins was on pace to throw for 5,000 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions — also known as MVP numbers.

Is the Competitive
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Halden added, “Even Brady wasn’t above the heat and we have watched what has happened to Jones and Zappe. Kirk needs a strong offensive coach who believes in his ability. It seems Bill and Kirk wouldn’t be a great mix despite the fact he is the best veteran quarterback on the market. The only way this works is if Bill brings in a strong OC that can work well with the style that fits Kirk.”

Finally, the optimistic side of Cousins on the Falcons’ depth chart is evident, too. He could, alas, help Atlanta unlock offensive weapons Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Bijan Robinson while Belichick did Belichickian things with the defense. And that’s all inside a weak NFC South.

Return to Familiar but Unkind
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Cousins hasn’t been a free agent in six years.

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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