Free Agent Fits: Kirk Cousins
NFL Free Agency officially starts next month, which means it’s time for some predictions on where the top free agents will sign. From now up until Free Agency, I’ll be doing a Free Agent Fits series, giving some insight into where the top free agents may end up. I thought it’d be appropriate to start off this series with Kirk Cousins, considering we officially know he’s going to be a free agent because of what happened with the Chiefs and Alex Smith. I’ll usually stick to about 5 potential teams for each player, but with Cousins I had to include a couple more because quarterback is a need for several teams this offseason. Below are some potential fits for Kirk Cousins. Keep an eye on these teams to go after him when Free Agency begins.
The quarterbacks for the Denver Broncos were terrible last season. Siemian had a rating of 73.3 after throwing more INT’s than TD’s, Lynch had a rating of 72.0 after also throwing more INT’s than TD’s, and Osweiler had a rating of 72.5 after throwing the same number of TD’s as INT’s. The Broncos defense was put in a lot of bad spots last season, making them look worse than they actually were. If you can give this defense a solid quarterback to help them out, look out opposing offense’s.
Denver is solid at most places on their roster, but they need a quarterback who can actually play the position well. Kirk Cousins is the guy. Going from quarterback ratings in the 70’s to a rating in the 90’s would significantly increase the win total of this team. If Cousins goes to the Broncos, they’re getting back into the playoffs and they’d be a dangerous playoff team.
Larry Fitzgerald has to be begging the Cardinals to get a capable quarterback. That was Carson Palmer for a little while, but then he crapped out on him and eventually retired. Carson Palmer was toward the end of his career when he came to Arizona anyway. Cousins being 29 gives him quite a bit of time before he gets to that point.
Quarterback is high on the list for the Cardinals this offseason. They could look to the draft for a young guy with potential, or they could go after a guy like Cousins who has a lot of experience and some success. It might be tough to pay Cousins what he wants, but the Cardinals need someone who can actually help their star players. David Johnson and Fitzgerald need someone who’s not Drew Stanton or Blaine Gabbert.
New York Jets
This one is interesting to me. The Jets were surprisingly competitive this season, coming close to a win in several of their losses. They won 5 games, which could have been 8 or 9 if a few things went their way. The Jets did that with Josh McCown at quarterback. This team isn’t as bad as everyone thinks it is. They have some really good pieces at other positions, but they don’t have the right piece at the right position.
Getting Cousins into a Jets uniform gives the Jets those 8 or 9 wins they could have had this year. I know that’s not great, but it’s much better than what they’ve done the past couple years. Forget about drafting a new quarterback, go after Cousins and draft a position of need somewhere else.
Well we know the Bills aren’t all that impressed with Tyrod Taylor. They benched him during the season, but that came back to bite them. I can see why the Bills are looking for another option at the position. Taylor has never posted more than 3,035 passing yards and 20 TD’s in a season. Taylor does have a rating of 92.7 over his three years starting for the Bills, but he’s not a big time passer like most teams want. Cousins is that type of guy. Cousins has passed for at least 4,000 yards and 25 TD’s each season he’s been the full time starter.
With a running game like the Bills have, it would allow Cousins to improve his game and make more big plays. Shady McCoy will be on everyone’s mind. Cousins didn’t really have that guy with the Redskins. Getting Cousins would not only improve the offense, but the defense too. Buffalo had one of the top defense’s at one point in the season, but it dropped off because they were put in bad spots. Cousins would allow this defense to get back to their form at the beginning of the season.
After a season where this team went to the Conference Championship game, you’d think they wouldn’t need a new quarterback, but they do. Blake Bortles is not the answer at quarterback if the Jaguars want to win a Super Bowl anytime soon. Recent reports are that the Jaguars will be keeping Bortles for 2018, but how many times have we seen a team say one thing and then do another? It happens in sports all the time. Blake Griffin was given a massive contract by the Clippers not too long ago and then all of a sudden gets traded to the Pistons. Different sport, same principle.
The Jaguars need a new quarterback if they want to become a better team. They’ve got the defense, they’ve got the offensive line, they’ve got the running game, but they don’t have the right quarterback. Bortles has a career rating of 80.8 in four years as the Jaguars starter. Kirk Cousins has a career rating of 93.7, but if you only consider the past three in which he’s been a full time starter, his rating is 97.5. I wouldn’t consider Kirk Cousins elite, but he’s a much better quarterback than Blake Bortles. The Jaguars might say they’re sticking with Bortles, but if they want to win more they should go after Cousins.
The Vikings have a situation at quarterback they need to figure out. Will they bring back Keenum? What about Bradford? Will they go with Teddy Bridgewater again? It’s a toss up. Keenum was great for the Vikings this season, but he’s been inconsistent at that level. This was by far his best year. Who knows what Bridgewater will be like after his injury? I didn’t think he was ever that great to be honest. Sam Bradford still can’t stay healthy. Maybe go with Kirk Cousins.
Cousins is a consistent quarterback who can stay healthy and play well. With the defense the Vikings have, locking up a quarterback like Cousins would make them NFC contenders for a while. I bet Cousins would love to have a defense like this. Give him short field position and extra points on the board. Take some more pressure off Cousins and see what he can do. With so much uncertainty at quarterback, if they think they can afford him, why not go after him?
According to reports right after the Alex Smith trade, the Browns were trying to get Smith. That’s unfortunate for the Browns because their biggest need is a quarterback. The Browns have been in need of a quarterback for a long time. I bet they’d be willing to dish out some money for a guy who can actually play. Cousins is looking for big money, and I think the Browns might be willing to give him what he wants if they’re desperate enough.
Getting Cousins would allow the Browns to feel an assurance at the quarterback position. They wouldn’t have to keep wasting draft picks on quarterbacks who never pan out. The only problem with this is Cousins actually wanting to play for the Browns. Nobody wants to play for the Browns. Would Cousins be willing to play there for the right price? Maybe, but it’d probably be more about money than winning at that point.