With the stunner breaking this week of Alex Smith being traded to the Washington Redskins (though the trade will not actually happen until March), this obviously indicates that Kirk Cousins is finished in D.C. Whether one thinks this is a good idea or not, Cousins’ days had appeared numbered there for a while anyway. He’s been pretty good the last three years for Washington and could potentially lead his next team to the playoffs. But what team will that be? Here are some of the more likely possibilities.
Four Possible Landing Destinations for Kirk Cousins
With Carson Palmer having retired, the Arizona Cardinals are now in need of a new quarterback. Few seem to have talked about this, but Cousins would be a good pick for them. They are arguably only a good quarterback away from contending for the playoffs again. They will be getting David Johnson back next year, they have a pretty good defense, and they have a good enough receiving corps heralded by all-time great Larry Fitzgerald that Cousins could get it done with them.
The Cardinals are stuck in a tough division right now – all three of their NFC West rivals (the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and even the San Francisco 49ers) could be contenders next year. Arizona arguably needs to make a big signing at quarterback like this in order to keep up with everybody else. Johnson will not be able to do it all by himself.
This possibility was actually detailed in a separate LWOS article, and few have been considered in more need of a quarterback than the Denver Broncos. They have a strong defense as well and two excellent wide receivers. There is certainly potential for the Broncos with Cousins, and the AFC West does not seem as tough right now. However, if they pick up Cousins without fixing their offensive line, it may not matter much. Still, the Broncos are still a pretty decent contender to get him.
Despite the fact that Blake Bortles played pretty well during the playoffs and his Jacksonville Jaguars got to the AFC Championship, there still is doubt over whether his job is safe or not. Considering that Bortles still does have potential and showed some improvement down the stretch this year, they might end up being careful about pulling in a new starter unless it would be a significant upgrade – like Cousins.
Think about it. This is a team that got all the way to the AFC Championship. And they almost actually won it despite having a talented but insanely inconsistent quarterback. If the Jaguars picked up Cousins or even another quarterback superior to Bortles, they could truly establish themselves as one of the top dogs in the AFC – just a couple years after having been derided alongside the likes of the Cleveland Browns.
The Minnesota Vikings have a strange situation at quarterback. They have three guys right now (Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater) who are all capable. But they are also all free agents. While one would expect Keenum to be returning next year after his big breakout season, it is also within the realm of possibility that the Vikings might field other options – such as bringing in Cousins, who would still be an upgrade, despite how well as Keenum played this year. The Vikings are the best team on this list, so Cousins might stand to gain an easier path to a Super Bowl if he ends up on that team.
Some other teams have been floated as well, such as the Browns and New York Jets, but those will probably only happen if Cousins decides to value money over signing with a playoff contender. Some might consider the Broncos to be in that same category as well. However, they are just two years removed from a Super Bowl title and they still have mostly the same cast. They just have not been able to get it together at quarterback and offensive line since.
Regardless of where Cousins ends up, he will be the best option available in the quarterback market this offseason. Teams who either need a new quarterback or are considering their options would do well to at least consider him. Opportunities like this do not show up in the free agency market every year.