Kirk Cousins’ Alleged Asking Price Is Fair, But …

Mattison Crossing
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks before a joint practice with the Tennessee Titans in Eagan, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Kirk Cousins should absolutely earn $45 million next year playing quarterback in the NFL.

But that may not be ideal for the Minnesota Vikings.

Kirk Cousins’ Alleged Asking Price Is Fair, But …

Since the offseason’s onset, a handful of miniature hints have suggested Kirk Cousins may venture to a new team this March. Earlier this month, reporters asked Cousins what was most important to him via his next contract. He replied, “Structure is probably more important” and that “everything that isn’t the dollars [is] stuff you also work through.”

Alleged Asking Price
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

That seemed to hint Cousins seeks a longer-term deal that is more than just one year, which may be incongruent with the Vikings’ plan. Then, not long after, CBS Sports’ Isabel Gonzalez asked Cousins point-blank last week if he’d play for Bill Belichick, and his 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.

Belichick was a frontrunner to land the Atlanta Falcons top job, a gig that has since been filled by Raheem Morris — not Belichick. Usually when Cousins is asked about his future, he says something to the effect of, “I’m just concerned about the Vikings.” With the response to Gonzalez, though, he was open to a new beginning.

Vikings Allegedly Said
David Berding-USA TODAY Sports.

Meanwhile, Pioneer Press Charley Walters recently wrote about Cousins’ upcoming free agency, “The buzz now is that it will take $90 million guaranteed for two years, despite that he’s still not yet fully recovered from Achilles surgery in November, to sign free agent QB Kirk Cousins. If that’s the case, he certainly won’t get that from the Vikings.”

So, here we are, realizing that Cousins probably won’t accept a “hometown discount” that fans have dreamed about for the last four weeks. The man never takes team-friendly deals, and the Walters reporting is more on par with classic Cousins business acumen.

Outcome at QB
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Last offseason, Daniel Jones inked an extension worth $40 million annually. He arrived to his 2023 campaign and emphatically didn’t resemble a quarterback warranting such a payday. But that doesn’t change the fact he secured the bag. In a competitive market, Cousins deserves $45 million.

Yet, the Vikings may be best served to say no thanks.

Adams Is Fond
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

They’ve tried this experiment with Cousins six times. The process worked twice to the tune of a playoff appearance and one postseason victory four years ago. It isn’t working, generally speaking. It might work suddenly in 2024, but $45 million is an expensive trial for a hopeful-maybe.

Moreover, the Vikings haven’t selected a quarterback with 1st-Round draft capital in 10 years. That was Teddy Bridgewater, a man who played his final NFL game on Sunday. With or without Cousins, it’s time to draft and develop the “next guy.”

And if the next guy arrives on the roster in April, using Cousins’ $45 million on defensive free agents might be the better plan for a rookie quarterback to succeed. Cousins is totally entitled to $45 million per production, but Minnesota’s piggybank might not be the most appropriate source.

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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