While the dust and confetti from the Philadelphia Eagles first Super Bowl win has barely settled, the news of a quarterback from their own division has overshadowed them in the form of Kirk Cousins.
Cousins, widely considered by mainly to be the proverbial bell of the free agent ball, recently became expendable after the Washington Redskins traded for and inked former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith to a four-year $91 million extension, with $71 million guaranteed.
Couple that with the San Francisco 49ers inking Jimmy Garrapolo to a record-breaking five-year $137.5 million extension, and Cousins’ once high trade and free agent capital has taken a bit of a hit.
With San Francisco crossed off and his soon-to-be former team trading for his replacement, Cousin’s wishlist just got shorter. There are still possibly landing spots such as the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings and even the NFL’s dumpster fire and proverbial black hole of sadness in the form of the Cleveland Browns, the team that may make the most sense for Cousins—who has gone on record in stating that he wants to play for a contender are the Denver Broncos.
Per the projected 2018 salary cap figures for all 32 teams, Denver is below the league average of $31 million and only has a projected cap of $22.5 million, which ranks 18th. While General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations in John Elway is known to be a shrewd negotiator, even his best Ari Gold impersonation wouldn’t be able to convince Cousins to take a serious pay cut to come to the Rocky Mountains.
While Denver needs to stabilize the QB position as Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch have both proven to be less than franchise-worthy, the growing sense around the league is that the Broncos will look to the upcoming draft to find a future franchise QB in the form of either Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen.
Couple that with the fact that money talks in free agency and you have teams with more cap space such as the aforementioned Browns ($100.1 million), New York Jets ($76.3 million) and the Minnesota Vikings ($53.3 million), and even his own agent, Mike McCartney would have to advise him to at least consider offers elsewhere, as he just turned 29 in August, and is one year away from the dreaded danger line of 30, with this likely being the only big-money contract he will ever see in free agency.
While he may also face the likelihood of being franchised by the Redskins again, Cousins will likely hit free agency with what appears to be dwindling prospects.
As far as Cousins to the Broncos?
Unless Elway and Co. get really creative in the Mile High City, the only way Cousins will be in Denver is as a member of a visiting team.