The Latest Discourse about Kirk Cousins Is Wild

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Eight weeks ago, Kirk Cousins embarked on a new beginning, his third NFL chapter after significant stints with the Washington Commanders and Minnesota Vikings.

The Latest Discourse about Kirk Cousins Is Wild

Life was good, Cousins was on deck to unlock a bevy of weapons in Georgia, and the Falcons had a shot at reaching the postseason for the first time since 2017. Fast forward to May, and outfits like ESPN are already discussing Cousins’ possible exit after 2024.

Kirk Cousins
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Bill Barnwell led the charge this week, a byproduct of Atlanta using the draft’s eighth overall pick on quarterback Michael Penix Jr. from Washington. The Falcons were “supposed to” choose a defender — most mock drafts theorized EDGE rusher Dallas Turner, who later landed with the Vikings — but planned for their post-Cousins era instead.

“Naturally, while Cousins might not want to move on to another city after just landing in Atlanta, the veteran might also not want to sit in 2025 behind Penix if the Falcons are ready to move on and there’s an exciting opportunity available elsewhere. Could the Falcons move on after one year? Yes, although it would be more complicated,” Barnwell explained.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins and his agent were flummoxed by the Penix Jr. draft choice, specifically because they weren’t informed about Atlanta’s plan until it was on the draft clock. And some now believe that Cousins in black and red was more short-term than forecasted.

Barnwell continued, “If Cousins agrees to a trade, it would be easy; Atlanta would actually save $2.5 million as part of that deal, and while it would have paid him $62.5 million for one year of work, it wouldn’t be on the hook for the remaining $37.5 million in guarantees. The Falcons would have $37.5 million in dead money on their cap, but we’ve seen teams grown more comfortable eating that sort of dead money if they’re ready to move on from a quarterback.”

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota didn’t re-up with Cousins because it was time for a new era and the veteran quarterback is never affordable. Under Cousins, the Vikings reached the postseason twice in six years, accruing just one playoff win — five years ago.

Barnwell then mentioned the San Francisco 49ers as a long-shot landing spot for Cousins in 2025 and added, “The other potential landing spots appear to be with the Raiders, Steelers and Titans, none of whom have a settled quarterback of the future. The Giants, Jets, Saints, Seahawks and even the Dolphins could also be in the market for a veteran starter. If Cousins plays well in 2024 and both he and the Falcons want to split, there will be a market for him next year. Next time around, Cousins might just want to try to get his new organization to promise it won’t draft a quarterback immediately after acquiring him.”

kirk cousins
March 13, 2024. Newly signed Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Kirk Cousins sits down with Falcons Digital Producer Taylor Vismor to discuss his signing with the Falcons. Kirk talks about the exciting playmaking roster he is joining and what a move to Atlanta means to him and his family.

Whether Cousins stays or goes in 2025 probably depends on his team’s outcome in 2024. If he produces his steady 4,000+ yard statline with 30+ touchdowns in addition to a playoff appearance or win, the 35-year-old will likely stay for longer than a year.

However, a playoffs-less season could lead to the Barnwell scenario — a fourth team for Cousins in nine seasons.

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