Going into the NFL offseason, we all knew that the Kirk Cousins divorce with Washington was coming soon. What we didn’t know was that Washington was already pursuing an older gentleman on the side. Not only did Washington make a 1,000-mile over-the-shoulder pass at Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, but they’re now openly in bed with him to the tune of a reported contract worth $94 million, with $71 million guaranteed.
Despite the tangled relationship going on here, Kirk Cousins won’t be losing any sleep over his soon-to-be ex-team. Reason being that whether Washington decides to place the franchise tag on Cousins again (and then trade him), or allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, Captain Kirk is going to get paid either way. It’s a win-win situation for Cousins being that even if he’s tagged again, teams will still want to know that he’s in for the long haul before trading for him.
That said, if Cousins does become an unrestricted free agent, then where should he go?
The obvious destinations that come to mind include the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Minnesota Vikings. Of these options, Minnesota is probably the best fit, but not necessarily the only fit.
Denver has a stellar defense, year-in and year-out, not to mention a forward thinking executive team led by John Elway. Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both provide great stability downfield, while we fully expect the Broncos to address its backfield situation this off season. Player personnel aside, perhaps the primary drawback of playing in Denver would be living in the shadow of other great quarterbacks, particularly Peyton Manning and Elway himself. Of what we know of Kirk Cousins thus far, he certainly appears to be a quarterback that wants to write his own history.
Arizona is certainly an interesting landing spot as well. The offense is already firmly anchored by running back David Johnson, and there are a stable of young receivers ready to help Larry Fitzgerald carry the load. While we don’t know much about how the new head coach will operate, we do know that it wouldn’t be difficult for Cousins to come in and erase any recent memory of now-retired quarterback, Carson Palmer.
In Minnesota, the team dynamic may be even better than that of Arizona. For starters, the defense is extremely solid. If you need specifics, then just know that the Vikings ranked second to only the Jacksonville Jaguars in that category this past season.
As far as the Viking’s offensive weaponry goes, there are three great receiving options in Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph. In 16-games, Thielen posted 1,276 total yards and four touchdowns, while Diggs posted 849 yards and eight touchdowns over 14-games. Rudolph, himself, quietly scored eight touchdowns of his own.
In running back Dalvin Cook, the Vikings also have one of the league’s best young prospects. Through the first four games of the season, Cook posted a line of 74-354-2 before getting injured. He trailed only Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley at the time.
By going to Minnesota, Cousins could potentially channel his inner Drew Brees given the current set-up. He’s the perfect center piece for this well-oiled machine on the rise; a team that seems desperate for a leader, even in light of Case Keenum’s spectacular playoff run. Unless the Washington Redskins choose to franchise-tag Cousins with ill intention, or the Jimmy Garoppolo deal falls through in San Francisco, then it makes perfect sense for Cousins to give Minnesota a very long look and consider a move back to the midwest.