For a few years, the NFL was plagued by a quarterback issue that didn’t have to do with torn ACLs, concussions, or interceptions: the Brett Favre drama.
Every year, it would be ‘will he or won’t he’ with regards to Favre unretiring to play for a team that was either the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, or St. Louis Rams. Close to a decade later, we have a new quarterback drama on our hands: where will Washington’s Kirk Cousins land?
Long story short, Cousins has received the franchise tag two seasons in a row and is most likely going to become a free agent next offseason; there have been rumors about a team like the 49ers trading for the former fourth-round pick this season, but let’s up the ante up and figure out what will happen next season.
Put simply, we know nothing about what is set to happen in 2018 - we don’t even know what’s set to happen later in 2017. Maybe Aaron Judge will continue to hit bombs for the Yankees, maybe LeBron James and the Cavaliers will get swept in the next round, and maybe Curt Schilling will announce that he is running for the U.S. Senate not as a man, but as an Apache Attack Chopper complete with the UAV Predator Drone from Call of Duty attached. Who knows?
With that said, this is a reasonable guess based on the facts we know now and what we’ve seen in the past. Also, the Washington Redskins aren’t on this list; we’re looking at 15 teams not run by one of the worst owners in sports. Ready?
15 Will: New York Jets
With the Jets forgoing a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft and apparently handing the reins to one of the younger quarterbacks (if you listen closely, you can hear my window opening and the sound of a head smashing against a wall out of frustration at the Jets for not doing this a year ago), it may be too early to determine if Gang Green will be in the market for a signal-caller next year. However, if an answer at quarterback isn’t found between Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, Cousins may be the Jets’ next best bet.
With that said, it’s also important to note that the 2018 season will be the ten year anniversary of the Jets acquiring another NFC star quarterback in Brett Favre. Would Cousins enjoy more success in the Big Apple than the Hall of Famer did?
14 Won't: Houston Texans
The team that every quarterback from Johnny Manziel gets mocked to, the Texans aren’t going after a star signal-caller like Cousins in 2018 unless they absolutely needed to; in other words, that’d mean Deshaun Watson sustained a career-ending injury and Tom Savage had proven that he couldn’t be the starter. When you trade up into the first-round for a quarterback like the Texans did with Watson, you’re essentially saying that for the next three to four years, he is your top option without question.
Now, I’m personally not a huge fan of Watson’s game and think he’s going to wind up with the worst career of the three first-round quarterbacks (Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes II being the other two), but I do think he’s guaranteed to be in the mix until 2020 at the earliest unless he was JaMarcus Russell level. But come on, we know that no one can hit that mark, right?
13 Will: San Francisco 49ers
Is it hypocritical of me to put the 49ers on here when they drafted a quarterback, but not the Houston Texans? Well, the 49ers took Iowa’s C. J. Beathard in the third-round as a project pick while the oh-so-memorable-duo of Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley lead the way through a rebuilding period; that’s not to say Beathard may or may not be the answer, but the commitment to a third-round pick isn’t what it would be with a first-rounder.
Factor in the Washington element with new coach Kyle Shanahan and wide receiver Pierre Garcon and Santa Clara sounds pretty appealing for Cousins. If Chip Kelly was still in town with his college offense and inability to control a team, that’d be one thing, but getting to work once more with a proven offensive coordinator? Cousins would be silly to pass that up if all of the stars perfectly align.
12 Won't: Buffalo Bills
With how much of a mess the Buffalo Bills currently are, would you really want to play for them if you’re Kirk Cousins, especially with them being the worst team in the division right now? Between front office dysfunction, Sammy Watkins likely to hit the free agent market next year after three disappointing seasons - and with the character concerns he had entering the draft, no one should be surprised - and uncertainty at quarterback for the long-term, I can’t see Cousins winding up in western New York.
Besides, I happen to think Tyrod Taylor is the future at quarterback for the Bills, so why would Cousins sign long-term with a team that already has their player. Cousins is a better quarterback than Taylor, yes, but can you really trust the Bills right now?
11 Will: Minnesota Vikings
Sticking with teams who often play in the colder parts of the United States - though the Vikings at least have a dome covering them - what are the Purple People planning to do at quarterback for the 2018 season? Will it be Teddy Bridgewater, who may not even be in the team’s short-term plans given his recovery from last year’s brutal leg injury? Will it be Sam Bradford, who wasn’t as stellar as last year's stats may show?
If they’re still torn going into next offseason, maybe it should be Kirk Cousins, who has experience with that part of the United States after playing his collegiate career at Michigan State. As the Vikings play around with their offense and hope that Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and newcomer Dalvin Cook - in addition last year’s first-round pick Laquon Treadwell - will be valuable weapons for whoever the quarterback is, Cousins may be intrigued by the prospect of trading red and gold for purple and gold.
10 Won't: Seattle Seahawks
For some reason, I guess that people seem to be concerned about the future of Russell Wilson as the Seahawks’ quarterback? Folks, even if you weren’t initially sold on Wilson coming into the NFL and after his first few seasons, make no mistake: he is in this for the long-haul, especially in the midst of his prime. Seattle may be open to trading Richard Sherman or finding a long-term replacement for Earl Thomas, sure, but Wilson? No chance, especially not with him entering the third year of a four-year extension - one that’s almost certain to be extended with another Wilson-esque season.
With that said, people will float around the rumor of Cousins to Seattle for absolutely no reason. Why would Cousins go someplace where there already is a top five quarterback in place? That’s silly. We don’t talk silliness in my articles.
9 Will: Miami Dolphins
Now, things begin to get a bit interesting because unlike Wilson and the Seahawks, Miami may not be fully prepared for a long-term future with their quarterback from the 2012 NFL Draft: Ryan Tannehill. Though Tannehill was on pace to set career-highs in completion percentage and quarterback rating last year - and isn't set to become an unrestricted free agent until 2021 - the Dolphins could easily get tired of the same old routine with Tannehill and explore other options.
Now, that's another article entirely about which teams would be most interested in Tannehill (Arizona??), but a quarterback spot opening up in Miami could greatly interest Cousins, especially with all of their current offensive weapons. Any quarterback who wouldn’t want to work with Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, and DeVante Parker - if he can get it going - doesn’t want to win.
8 Won't: New York Giants
I can spend ten minutes talking about why -and the New York Football Giants wouldn’t be a good fit, but I’ll try to do it in nine. For starters, the Giants are more-or-less in a similar situation as the 49ers: they have a quarterback plan in place - which for the Giants is Eli Manning and for the 49ers are veterans - and are grooming a third rounder - Davis Webb in New York and C. J. Beathard in San Francisco - meaning there’s not an immediate urge to go out and get Cousins.
Plus, for as old as Eli Manning may seem in terms of NFL years, the guy is 36 and has a couple years left in the tank. If Manning produces another capable season like he has the past three years, then the Giants would have no need to go out and sign Cousins. Sorry, Kirk, but throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. will have to wait.
7 Will: Carolina Panthers
No, I’m not kidding. Hear me out here! Seriously!
I get it, Cam Newton is revered and loved in Carolina, but how much longer can the organization take him and his immaturity? Newton won’t be a free agent until 2021, yes, but if the Panthers endure another losing season and Newton doesn’t grow up, would it be unrealistic to see them make some phone calls next offseason regarding trading the former MVP and acquiring Kirk Cousins?
Okay, maybe it’d be a tiny bit unrealistic, but I’d certainly do it. This is going to be Newton’s seventh year in the NFL and he’s still acting like the brat he was at the University of Florida - and that one season in 2015 may not be enough to sway me into keeping him. I like Cousins more as a long-term option, what can I say?
6 Won't: Green Bay Packers
Seeing as we’re already entering Aaron Rodgers’ 10th season as the Green Bay Packers starter and he’s only made - and won - a single Super Bowl in that time, the coming months are likely to see the hot take pundits and bloggers who know nothing about football ask if the Packers should consider replacing Rodgers after this season. Ha! As if…
Like it or not, Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. We’re not talking about a mediocre veteran starter here, guys. Rodgers is coming off a career-best season with 40 touchdowns and only seven interceptions - continuing a streak of eight or fewer interceptions in every season since 2010 - with 4,428 passing yards and a 65.7 completion percentage - oh, and the Packers made the NFC Championship Game for the third time since 2010. Why would the Packers essentially trade Rodgers for Cousins?
5 Will: Jacksonville Jaguars
I can't be any more blunt about the Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterback situation than I'm about to be: Blake Bortles is on watch. Even with the Jaguars picking up his fifth-year option and them adding an instant offensive weapon in Leonard Fournette (which really raises the question of what's going to happen to Chris Ivory), this does not mean the team is committed to Bortles for long-term. If anything, there's just a bit more pressure on him to succeed.
And, if Cousins is available next offseason after Bortles produces a mediocre season, then the Jaguars may feel compelled to snag the former Redskins quarterback. If you give Cousins an offense with Fournette, Allen Robinson (if they lock him up long-term), Allen Hurns, and other developing weapons, that may be the final option needed for Jacksonville to finally become contenders.
4 Won't: Chicago Bears
This is a strange situation because first, the Chicago Bears went out and gave Mike Glennon a three-year contract worth $45 million dollars to come in and seemingly be the option for a couple of years...and then they trade up to land North Carolina's Michell Trubisky with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Huh?
In other words, the Bears have found their quarterback of the future and have a highly-paid backup behind him, so where does Cousins come in? Why would Cousins sign in Chicago to compete with a quarterback that the team traded up to get when they could have picked one up later? There will be plenty of teams wanting Cousins' services, but I can't see him winding up in Chicago.
3 Will: Baltimore Ravens
On the other hand...what about Cousins staying close to the D.C. area by landing with the Baltimore Ravens and taking Joe Flacco's job? Though some will argue that the Ravens are in the long haul with Flacco - and even a select few will somehow argue that Flacco is elite - let's say that the Ravens miss out on the playoffs for the third straight season and fourth time in five years this coming season.
With the exception of the 2014 season - when the Ravens actually made the postseason - Flacco has been mediocre and remains turnover-prone. Wouldn't you rather let a team like the Jets or Cardinals try to work magic with Flacco instead of going through Groundhog Day again. If I'm the Ravens, I'm contacting Kirk Cousins and giving him the keys to a car that Flacco can't get on the road.
2 Won't: Indianapolis Colts
Sticking with teams who can't get the car on the road, Andrew Luck is not to blame for the Colts' failures; he still makes rookie mistakes and may not do as much to win as he maybe should, but he is not to blame for the incompetence of Ryan Grigson and Jim Irsay. Like his predecessor Peyton Manning, Luck is in it for the long haul with the Colts - and unless Luck and his flip phone promptly retired tomorrow, the Colts aren't going for a quarterback of Kirk Cousins' caliber.
While I do think there's an argument to be made that right now, Cousins is higher up on the top quarterback lists than Luck is, what good would it be for the Colts to swap one for the other? If Luck was awful or couldn't stay out of trouble, that'd be one thing, but he's not responsible for terrible front office management or bad coaching.
1 Will: Los Angeles Chargers
Now, here's an interesting option, especially with the Chargers not taking a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. If Philip Rivers has another strong season for the Chargers and Los Angeles isn't among the worst teams in the league (for the state of this article, they go 7-9 - not awful, but not great), would the Bolts consider trading Rivers to a quarterback-needy team and signing Cousins?
If that were to become realistic, I think Cousins would be all for it, especially with the AFC West being a fairly competitive division and the former fourth-rounder having a chance to emerge as a star in Hollywood. Who wouldn't want to do that? For as much as I love watching Rivers play, sign me up for a few years of Cousins throwing to Mike Williams and Hunter Henry.
Where would you like to see Kirk Cousins end up if he doesn't stay with the Washington Redskins? Make sure to let us know in the comment section below!