Late Tuesday news broke that the Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins (really makes sense from the Redskins and Smith’s perspectives). Of course, the deal can’t be finalized until Mar. 14, but it appears that Washington has moved on from Kirk Cousins, who will be a free agent this off-season, and the Chiefs are ready to start the Patrick Mahomes era in Kansas City. Immediately following the New England Patriots trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers it looked like a good bet that Cousins would either get a deal done in Washington or wind up with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But with the Redskins agreeing to trade for Smith and the Jaguars essentially being stuck with Blake Bortles at a cost of $19 million next season (if Bortles can’t pass a physical in March (after recent wrist surgery) he will be guaranteed that $19 million in 2018) those two locations no longer seem as viable (Washington isn’t viable at all) as new destinations for Cousins. If Bortles passes his physical and the Jags can cut him with no cap hit then Jacksonville would make the most sense as a place where Cousins could be under center next season. But, if Bortles fails his physical in March and the Jags are on the hook for that $19 million, and therefore can’t realistically sign Cousins, the free agent signal caller should sign with the Denver Broncos.
Kirk Cousins Should Sign With Denver Broncos Following Alex Smith Trade
True, the Broncos don’t have the salary cap space of other teams. Denver has $24.7 million in available cap space while the Cleveland Browns ($103 million), New York Jets ($77.7 million), and Minnesota Vikings ($56.1 million) all need a quarterback heading into 2018 and all three organizations have more cap space available than do the Broncos. But Broncos general manager and executive vice president of football operations, John Elway, is capable of getting creative enough to make the salary cap work.
In addition, Cousins has made $43.9 million over the last two years since Washington franchise tagged him the last two seasons. He could break the bank in free agency if he chooses to since teams overpay for quarterbacks and Cousins is hitting free agency in his prime (he’s 29 years old), which never happens. But Cousins needs to take ego out of this decision and go to the best situation. Cousins is probably tired of people not believing in him and it may be more important to him to go to a stable situation and to a team that is a quarterback away from making a deep run in the playoffs so he can win and prove himself. The Broncos are that team.
Broncos Quarterbacks in 2017
The three Broncos quarterbacks, Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, who were on the team’s roster in 2017 were all largely underwhelming in their own way last season. There is zero chance that Elway and head coach Vance Joseph go into the 2018 season with any of those three signal callers under center. They need to either draft or trade for a quarterback, or sign one in free agency. The Broncos defense is really talented, but the window on them being able to remain dominant, or at least close to, is closing. Denver doesn’t have time to draft and develop a quarterback. Talented quarterbacks are very hard to come by so it is doubtful Denver could acquire a difference making quarterback via a trade. Cousins will be available via free agency and the Broncos need to make the salary cap work and go after him.
Denver plays in the competitive AFC West and they have to face Philip Rivers and Derek Carr each two times a season (and Mahommes may wind up being really good in Kansas City). To truly be competitive the Broncos badly need an upgrade at the quarterback position and while Cousins isn’t necessarily a top 10 signal caller in the NFL he would instantly make the Broncos a team that would be capable of making a deep run in the playoffs.
Other teams, including the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills, will all probably make runs at Cousins this off-season. He may not be a top-10 quarterback, but Cousins will have no lack of suitors. Franchise quarterbacks are very difficult to find and there are many teams who need a signal caller, but Cousins in Denver makes the most sense if the Jags are forced to keep Bortles (or if Jacksonville doesn’t want to move on from him for some reason).