THE TALON

Let the Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes Begin

With the arrival of Alex Smith in Washington, Kirk Cousins will now be a free agent with many suitors trying to lure him to their teams.

The+Once+Believed+Savior+of+the+Redskins+is+now+Looking+for+a+New+Job
The Once Believed Savior of the Redskins is now Looking for a New Job

The Once Believed Savior of the Redskins is now Looking for a New Job

The Once Believed Savior of the Redskins is now Looking for a New Job

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The Washington Redskins stunned the world by making trading for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and proceeding to sign him to a four year extension. This gutsy move by the Redskins gives them something that they have not had in a long time, a franchise quarterback. Their quarterback for the past few years that many saw as being the savior of the Redskins, Kirk Cousins, is now without a job.  Cousins has demanded top tier quarterback money, but the Redskins did not want to pay him, so now he will be looking for his massive payday elsewhere. A franchise quarterback in his prime is an extremely valuable asset, one that rarely hits the free agent market, and teams are lining up to sign him at the start of free agency. With many destinations possible, where will Cousins land and where is the best fit for him.

Their quarterback for the past few years that many saw as being the savior of the Redskins is now without a job”

Cleveland Browns- The Place Where Quarterbacks Careers Come to Die

The Cleveland Browns have had a historically awful history with quarterbacks and they have had any success at that position. Cousins would bring stability to this abysmal franchise and give them a veteran leader to build around. The Browns would love to have Cousins and they have some desirable pieces both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, but they will not be anywhere close to playoff contention even with Cousins. Cousins’ competitive desire to win and a bevy of better opportunities will keep him away from a franchise that has not had a winning record since 2007 and had the worst season in franchise history last year, going 0-16. The city of Cleveland now turns their gaze to King James as their savior, but that could be short lived if he leaves again in free agency. At least Cleveland sports fans still have the Indians.

Jacksonville Jaguars- Bortles vs. Cousins

The Jaguars are a dream situation for Cousins. This team reached the AFC Championship and put up a solid fight against the Patriots with the mediocre at best Blake Bortles running the offense. Cousins would operate behind a solid O-line, have a workhorse back in Leonard Fournette, and a solid top receiver in Allen Robinson. The Jaguars also have a star studded defense that dominated last season headlined by AJ Bouye, Jalen Ramsey, and Calais Campbell. This situation is arguably the most desirable for Cousins because of all the assets that he would have at his disposal. The only downfall would be that he might not be able to get as large of a contract from them because of the money that they have invested in players like Calais Campbell, who they acquired in free agency last offseason. The issue comes in with the Jaguars franchise. They have to decide whether they want to continue to develop the cheaper Blake Bortles who showed some promise this season or to open up the checkbooks to bring Cousins into the fold. The Jaguars have one question that they have to ask themselves, can they win a Super Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback? If they believe that they can Bortles will be their guy, but if not, expect them to clear cap space and offer Cousins as much as they can.

Minnesota Vikings- Keenum vs. Bridgewater vs. Bradford vs. Cousins

Can you have too much of a good thing? One thing is for sure, the Vikings have plenty of options at quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater was once regarded as their quarterback of the future, but injuries have kept him from significant playing time since the 2015 season. If the Vikings still believe that he is still the answer, they would be able to sign him at a significant discount because of his injury history. The same could be said for Sam Bradford because of his injury history, but he is older and probably the least likely of the Vikings four main options to be their starter next season. Case Keenum was once regarded as a worthless commodity and was only signed by the Vikings because of the injuries to Bridgewater and Bradford. After a miraculous season, Keenum has shown that he can be a solid starter in the NFL and could be the unlikely answer for the Vikings quarterback problems. He would sign for much less then Cousins would, so it is possible that the Vikings could keep both him and either Bridgewater or Bradford for less then they would pay Cousins. Lastly, the safest and best option for the Vikings is Cousins. Objectively he is the most consistent and talented quarterback of this group and will be paid top tier quarterback money. The Vikings have to decide whether his cost, versus that of one of their current guys, is worth the benefit he brings to the offense. Their front office has a similar situation to that of the Jaguars, can they win a Super Bowl with the quarterbacks that they already have? If they believe that they can then Cousins will not be part of the future in Minneapolis, but he could very well be the last piece that brings that city a Lombardi Trophy.

Arizona Cardinals- The Heir to Carson Palmer?

Carson Palmer has finally decided to hang up the cleats for good. His retirement opens up the quarterback spot for the Cardinals. The Cardinals have a group of solid veterans like Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, and Tyrann Mathieu. This core group keeps them competitive, but they missed the playoffs and a rebuild is looming. The franchise could decide to draft a quarterback to rebuild the franchise around, or go after Cousins to give Fitzgerald one last chance at a title. The lack of depth at any position for the Cardinals makes a playoff run extremely unlikely, even with Cousins, so the draft is probably the best option. Cousins best option is also probably elsewhere because of the looming rebuild. Arizona does have the room to pay him top quarterback money, but it would not be a good decision on either party to pursue this. The heir to Carson Palmer should not be Kirk Cousins. The best option for the Cardinals is to either trade up in the draft or go after a guy like Case Keenum or AJ McCarron to fill the position.

Denver Broncos- Von Miller Lobbies for Cousins 

Star outside linebacker Von Miller is clearly the best player that the Denver Broncos have on roster, and he has made it known that he wants Cousins to be a Bronco. This has to be a blow to the confidence of young Paxton Lynch, whom the Broncos drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft out of Memphis University. Lynch has lost out on the starting job to Trevor Simein, who has been a below average starter for the Broncos. Simein has fulfilled his role as a transition quarterback and the Broncos need to make a change. They have three main options. The first is to start Lynch and see if he can become the franchise quarterback that they thought they were getting on draft night 2016. The second is to take a quarterback in this draft, such as Baker Mayfield, who has been praised by this organization. The third is to sign Cousins to a max contract. The Broncos had an abysmal season, but with the talent that they currently have on their roster, they could very well be in playoff contention if they have solid quarterback play. This is why Cousins is the best option for Cousins. Signing with this organization makes a lot of sense for Cousins . They would be able to give him more money then he would get from either Minnesota or Jacksonville and still be able to give him a shot at a championship. While the roster is not as dominant as the aforementioned teams, the bigger contract and the willingness of the organization to pay him makes is a better match for him.

New York Jets- The Next Butt Fumble

The New York Jets have made it known that they want to win now and are willing to pay for top notch free agents. They were immediately shot down by star free agent running back Le’veon Bell saying sarcastically “I’ll sign with the Jets for $100 Million dollars”. Even without Bell, they believe that they can lure Cousins and another big name free agent and be able to contend for a championship. If they were to accomplish this it would be the worst mistake by the Jets franchise since the infamous butt fumble. While Kirk Cousins is a franchise quarterback, all of the Jets assets are young. They have strong defensive prospects in Marcus Maye, Leonard Williams, and Jamal Adams, and Robby Anderson has emerged as a solid receiver. The problem is all of these players are developing. The best thing for the franchise is to wait and trade up to draft a quarterback. If they prefer to solve their quarterback problem through free agency, AJ McCarron is a much better option. The only real benefit to Cousins of signing with the Jets is financial, but he will be able to garner a similar deal from a better team.

My Prediction- Denver Broncos

The organization is willing to spend big on Cousins and the talent of that roster makes it more appealing then offers from Cleveland and New York. Jacksonville decides to stick with Bortles and Minnesota cannot clear enough cap space. The Broncos are both the best fit and most likely landing spot for Cousins.

Wherever Cousins does end up, he will change that franchise immensely. He brings stability and above average play at quarterback and can make plays to keep any team competitive. The spending spree for Cousins has begun and the real winner here, no matter how many wins he brings to the franchise, will be the fattened wallet of Kirk Cousins.

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