ESPN Formally Predicts Kirk Cousins’ New Team

Kirk Cousins Riddle
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He gone.

That’s ESPN’s official prediction for Kirk Cousins this offseason, as the 35-year-old is tentatively scheduled to hit free agency in seven weeks.

ESPN Formally Predicts Kirk Cousins’ New Team

The Vikings’ leadership has hinted since last year its desire to re-sign Cousins for a seventh season, but as always with the incumbent quarterback, money is the sticking point. The next handful of weeks will be used to determine if Minnesota and Cousins’ representation can meet in the middle financially on an extension.

ESPN Formally Predicts
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If they do not, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler formally predicted this week that Cousins will end up with the Atlanta Falcons, teaming up with Bill Belichick, the frontrunner to earn the Falcons’ top job. Atlanta is number-one-with-a-bullet in the would-be Cousins rumor mill if he doesn’t reunite with the Vikings, and the ESPN publication does nothing to change that.

“Kirk Cousins and Bill Belichick will be Falcons … and win the NFC South. The feeling out of New England was that Belichick planned to target an established veteran quarterback for the Patriots in 2024. If he gets the Atlanta job, as some expect, he can follow a similar blueprint,” Fowler wrote Wednesday.

Vikings Battle DVOA Demons
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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. Cousins also has ties to Georgia through marriage.

Fowler continued, “Cousins very well might re-sign with Minnesota, but if not, the Falcons offer several high-end skill players on offense and an improving defense — they’re the proverbial quarterback away.”

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 return to the Vikings, and voila, the world has a connection between Cousins and the Falcons.

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.

The ESPN article concluded with a quote from an anonymous NFL executive, “Belichick can help a talented yet underachieving team, and Atlanta is that Cousins would be a great fit there.”

Interestingly, CBS Sports’ Isabel Gonzalez asked Cousins point-blank last week if he’d play for 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.

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.

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Cousins was on pace for 5,000 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in 2023 before a torn Achilles injury at the Green Bay Packers last October. The Vikings had also just turned around their season the week prior, toppling the San Francisco 49ers and en route in Week 8 to a flogging of the Packers.

NFL free agency gets underway on March 11 with “legal tampering,” although a decision from the Vikings on Cousins should arrive beforehand.

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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