Dark Horse Team Plopped into Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes

10 Looming Predictions
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The Minnesota Vikings want Kirk Cousins back in 2024, but as always with the 35-year-old passer, money is the contention point.

Dark Horse Team Plopped into Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes

Cousins could be too rich for the Vikings’ blood this time around, as he’s expected to command $40-$50 million from his next team.

Horse Team Plopped
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So, Cousins could hit free agency, his first trip to the open market in six years. And according to Pro Football Focus, if Cousins is gettable for any NFL team, a new club could be a dark horse: the Miami Dolphins.

Miami employs Tua Tagovailoa at QB1 and sounds outwardly committed to the young quarterback for the long haul. PFF isn’t entirely buying that, though, plopping the Dolphins on a list of would-be Cousins suitors. Free agency kicks off in less than two weeks, so Minnesota has that long to lock down their man for 2024 and beyond.

Former QB Predicts Kirk
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PFF’s Zoltán Buday explained Miami as a Cousins landing spot, “Although head coach Mike McDaniel’s offense has shown potential in both of his seasons at the helm in Miami, the unit was unable to perform consistently toward the end of each season.” He continued, “This naturally raised questions about the offense’s limitations, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at the forefront of such conversations. The Dolphins attack the middle of the field: No quarterback attempted more passes to the intermediate areas (between 10 and 19 yards downfield) between the numbers than Tagovailoa in 2023.”

In addition to the Dolphins — now, apparently — teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New England Patriots are expected to at least explore the Cousins sweepstakes. Some believe the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos could nibble, too.

Dolphins Name Starting QB vs. Vikings
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Bulday concluded about Miami’s potential pursuit of Cousins. “The gap between him and second-placed Jared Goff (106 versus 82 attempts) was as big as between Goff and 11th-placed Sam Howell. When Cousins has targeted that area on the field over the past five seasons, he ranks ninth in PFF grade out of 39 quarterbacks, while Tagovailoa is just 14th. The Vikings quarterback has a 118.5 passer rating on those throws, which ranks fourth among quarterbacks. Tagovailoa’s 93.6 mark places just 21st.”

Tagovailoa is a fascinating NFL case study, delivering 4,624 passing yards in 2023 with 29 passing touchdowns, but in crunchtime, few trust the Alabama alumnus to close the deal. It’s an awful reputation for one to possess, one Tagovailoa will hope to change soon.

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Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said Tuesday at the NFL Combine about Tagovailoa, “My belief has always been strong since Day 1 in Tua. It’s stronger than it was the first day I met him, and that’s because of that relationship where I’m focused, which is continuing to provide the coaching so he can continue to evolve his game, as he has since the second that I started talking to him.”

So, generally speaking, McDaniel would have to be lying for the PFF prediction about Cousins and Miami to materialize.

Cousins will turn 36 in August.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.