The top free agent quarterback available is already off the board.
Kirk Cousins is expected to sign a three-year, $84 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Every single penny of the $84 million will be guaranteed, making Cousins the highest paid quarterback in the league, at least for the moment.
As he has to under NFL rules, Cousins agent, Mike McCartney says that Cousins hasn’t made an official decision yet, and he plans to visit the Vikings first before any other teams:
“No final decisions have been made,” McCartney said. “The plan is to visit Minnesota first. That’s all we can say right now.”
Cousins, who was a fourth-round draft pick by the Washington Redskins in 2012, ended up replacing Robert Griffin III as the team’s starter full-time in 2015. Since Cousins became a starting quarterback in 2015, he’s been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league. He has thrown for 4,000-plus yards in three straight seasons, and a franchise record 4,166 yards in 2015 that featured 29 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions. Washington decided to move on from Cousins after they acquired quarterback Alex Smith via trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Once he officially joins the Vikings, Cousins will join a NFC North division that features Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Mitch Trubisky. Rodgers, who is set to be extended by the Green Bay Packers in the near future, was said to be waiting for Cousins to sign his deal first so that he could become the highest paid quarterback in the NFL shortly after.
Minnesota is coming off a 13-3 season that featured a trip to the NFC Championship Game. Case Keenum was the team’s starter during the 2017 season after Sam Bradford ended up getting hurt early on the in season. Keenum has already moved on, signing with the Denver Broncos, who were also in on Cousins, until they likely received the sense that Cousins was Vikings bound. The Vikings were long considered the favorite for Cousins, considering they were willing to offer a fully-guaranteed contract, and are in a position to win now.
Quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater are also expected to move on from Minnesota, meaning that the Vikings, who once had great depth at the quarterback position, will need to find a backup quarterback for the durable Cousins. Veteran quarterback options on the market right now include Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, Chad Henne, and Matt Moore.
The Vikings also have great weapons already available to Cousins on offense in wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Running back Dalvin Cook will also be back from a torn ACL that cut his rookie season short, and Latavius Murray would likely end up serving as Cook’s backup.
In the end, Cousins was said to be considering only the Vikings, New York Jets, and Arizona Cardinals. The Jets and Cardinals will turn to other available quarterback options with The Game Day Report’s top overall free agent now off the board.
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