Six potential landing spots for Kirk Cousins
One of the huge ramifications from the Alex Smith trade is that Kirk Cousins will now become a free agent. And there are two things that are going to happen: lots of teams will have interest in signing Cousins, and he will be getting a ton of money.
Here’s a look at some potential landing spots for the quarterback.
1) Denver Broncos
The Broncos have been slipping since Peyton Manning retired and dropped into 5-11 territory last season. They still have a strong defense that was No. 3 in the league in yards allowed during the regular season. All they’re missing is a quarterback, and John Elway knows that. Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch are not the answer. The Broncos could take a quarterback at No. 5 and hope he develops into a franchise player (they have some interest in Baker Mayfield). Or they could sign a QB they know is competent like Cousins and be right back in the playoff mix. That is tempting.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are similar to the Broncos in that they’re a defensive team, only they’re closer to winning it all. Their defense could be the best in football. They have a strong running game. They just could use improved quarterback play and they’d really be cooking. Jacksonville has a club option for Blake Bortles, who is coming off wrist surgery on his throwing hand. You have to figure they’d love an upgrade at quarterback, and Cousins could provide that. They might be in the Super Bowl if they had better play from the quarterback position.
3) Cleveland Browns
The Browns have desperately needed a quarterback for two decades and have struck out and missed on a bunch. They couldn’t pull off a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, they failed to do the same for A.J. McCarron, and they also were said to have attempted a trade for Alex Smith. Even by throwing a lot of money at Cousins, there’s no guarantee they could get him. He said on Tuesday he wouldn’t necessarily go to the highest bidder, which seems to spell bad news for the Browns. Cleveland will at least have two opportunities to get a franchise QB since they hold the Nos. 1 and 4 picks in the draft. Drafting a QB is probably the best idea for them.
4) Buffalo Bills
The relationship status between Tyrod Taylor and the Bills has been “it’s complicated” for three years now. It got even worse when Taylor was benched midseason for Nathan Peterman, who embarrassed himself with a terrible game against the Chargers. Taylor regained the starting job and led Buffalo to the playoffs, but it seems the Bills’ brass isn’t in love with him. Buffalo has a good defense and could benefit from a player like Cousins, but for the money, they might be better off with a mobile QB like Taylor, who is set to make nearly half of what Cousins will.
5) Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback now that Carson Palmer announced his retirement. After an 8-8 season, they are set to draft at No. 15 and could go in a number of different directions for the future. Do they bring in a guy like Cousins and hope he makes them competitive with the Rams and Seahawks in the division, which he probably would do? Or do they take their chances with a QB in the first round? Perhaps rebuilding and searching for a longer-term answer would be the right move.
6) New York Jets
The Jets cleared a ton of players off the books last year and hit the reset button. They have a lot of salary cap space, and they’re picking No. 6 in the draft. The Browns, Giants and Broncos could take a QB ahead of them, which puts them in a bit of a bad spot for getting one of the top QBs, who are considered to be Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. Rather than let one of those QB-needy teams take their guy, they could pony up cash for Cousins. The problem is they just don’t seem to have enough of a complete team where Cousins would be the missing piece the way he could be for, say, Jacksonville.