Feb. 07, 2018
Breaking Down Kirk Cousins' Free Agency Options
Now that the 2017-18 football season is over several organizations will be in the market for quarterbacks this offseason. The headliner of this year's class is Kirk Cousins. In this article we will examine the teams that could court Cousins this offseason.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Objectively speaking this pairing makes the most sense for both parties. The Jaguars are coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history and feature a core of young talent and inconsistent Quarterback play. Bringing in Cousins' would solidify a weakness on an already well rounded football team. On the side of Cousins' he has a chance to get paid and join a team that is built to win. However, there is a roadblock on the way to this pairing, a $19 million dollar sized one at that. Last offseason the Jaguars decided to pick up Blake Bortles' $19 million dollar option last offseason for the 2018 season. It would be nearly impossible to get anything productive for Blake Bortles with that price attached. With the way Bortles played down the stretch this season and Cousins' struggles this season the Jaguars may elect to spend their money elsewhere this offseason, which I believe would be the best decision.
2. Cleveland Browns
Most football fans are well aware of the revolving door that has been the quarterback position for the Browns in this millennium. Despite only winning one game in the last two years the Browns do have playmakers to build around, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Signing Cousins would finally provide stability at the quarterback position and additionally provide the first step towards a winning culture in Cleveland in several years. With Cousins and the plethora of draft picks the future could be looking up although they are most likely several years away from being a serious contender. From the Cousins' side if he wants a big payday, this is his best shot as the Browns have the most cap space. Despite the money there are a lot of reasons he could be turned off. The main reason being Hue Jackson's inept coaching and the mess that has been the Browns front office the past few seasons.
3. Denver Broncos
At this point I think it is safe to say that the Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch experiments have failed. In order to salvage the end of the Broncos window of success (if it still even exists) they will need much better quarterback play. The team still has veteran playmakers such as Von Miller and Deymarius Thomas but is far from being a complete team. On Cousins' side the idea of playing for an organization such as the Broncos is enticing along with the Broncos battle tested veterans.
4. Buffalo Bills
After several attempts this may finally be the year that the Bills are able to get rid of Tyrod Taylor. In his own right Taylor has played well for the Bills but is not as skilled a passer as Cousins' is. The rest of the Bills roster is well rounded, although their secondary and receiving core could use upgrades after being depleted via trades last offseason.
5. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are coming off an 8-8 campaign where they spent most of the season with Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton at quarterback. With the return of running back David Johnson and the addition of Kirk Cousins, the Cardinals would be in the hunt for a playoff spot in the talented NFC. In this situation Cousins would be surrounded by plenty of offensive weapons and a solid defense. This team has a mix of experienced veterans and young playmakers that bode well for success in the forseeable future.
6. New York Jets
The Jets case is an interesting one, as they performed above expectations for the first half of the season. This success took them out of the running to grab a quarterback with a top 5 pick. The Jets don't necessarily have a ton of young talent to build around but do have a few promising players. Signing Cousins wouldn't turn the Jets into a playoff contender but if history is any indicator they won't mind pushing their young qb prospects to the side and plugging in Cousins for a few years.
Personal Opinion: I think out of all of the teams the Arizona Cardinals are the best fit for Cousins. Having David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are huge weapons if Cousins decides to sign with Arizona. Adding better quarterback play to a well rounded roster would put Arizona in a crowded NFC playoff mix.
What will Happen: This offseason I forsee the Browns and Broncos getting into a heavy bidding war for Cousins. The Browns wanting to finally have a season where they know who will start for them in week 1 and the Broncos trying to salvage their last chance to make a playoff run. I think the war will end with both teams offering comparable contracts with Cousins ultimately deciding that he would prefer the prestige of the Broncos organization and a few star contributors with visions of another Bronco playoff run.