Kirk Cousins’ Contract Keeps Him from Being Eli Manning

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The Minnesota Vikings decided to let Kirk Cousins grab the next massive payday from someone else, and in going to Atlanta, the longtime purple signal caller will come up short of an Eli Manning career. When looking to visit Canton, Cousins will always do so as a visitor.

Kirk Cousins’ Contract Keeps Him from Being Eli Manning

You can tune into a Monday Night Football matchup and find Peyton and Eli Manning hosting one of the best things on ESPN. The pair’s charisma is off the charts, and their guests help add to an otherwise exciting matchup on the gridiron each week. The two brothers couldn’t have different career resumes, but both may see the same ultimate honor.

kirk cousins
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Peyton is already enshrined in Canton, Ohio, as a member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame. There is less certainty regarding Eli, but as a two-time Super Bowl champion, with the numbers he racked up during his playing career, he should certainly have a good case. When Kirk hangs them up, his hands will likely remain ringless, and that will hold him back.

By all statistical measures, Eli was largely an above-average quarterback. He has exactly a .500 record under center, going 117-117. His 1.5 TD/INT ratio was hardly otherworldly, and neither the 57,000 passing yards nor 366 touchdowns represent substantially more than what you’d expect from a player who spent sixteen seasons at the highest level.

Free Agency
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Cousins is just four years shy of Eli’s total in the league, and he’s recently signed a $180 million deal with the Falcons to reach that amount. He should possess something similar in the record, yardage, and touchdown tallies by the end of that tenure, but being without the ultimate goal even once is enough to leave him as an afterthought for any sort of bust.

It’s in that reality where Cousins chose a payday over future recognition. There’s no guarantee he could have won it all with Minnesota, but the Falcons don’t seem poised to accomplish that feat either. Rather than chasing extra zeroes on the dotted line, he could have surrounded himself with more talent in a sport capped by spending on a total roster. He should continue to produce at a high level, and maybe Atlanta fans will be more excited about a slightly better version of mediocrity, but the tenure throughout his career will undoubtedly go down as a “what if.”

Have the Vikings Ever Been This Overlooked?
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Manning spent the entirety of his career within one organization. It was a franchise he forced himself into from day one and one that allowed him to build talent around him. Cousins was drafted as an afterthought that rose to prominence, and there was never a point where he wasn’t trying to capitalize on that platform.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.