If multiple reports are correct, the Minnesota Vikings could be introducing Kirk Cousins at some point next week.
But with two days of conversations set to take place between the No. 1 free agent quarterback and several teams vying for his services, clubs other than the Vikings will be putting their best foot forward to impress Cousins. How might they do it? Let’s look at the other teams who are reportedly in the running and what their best arguments might be for the former Washington quarterback to join their squad…
There isn’t another team on the list who can offer Cousins as much money as the Jets. It’s tough to get a handle on which reports are accurate about the ceiling of a potential contract for the former Washington QB, but with $90 million in cap space, a spot in the nation’s largest market and an owner worth over $4 billion, the Jets could pay out whatever is required to beat the other contenders’ offers.
The Jets are coming off a 5-11 season, so they would have a difficult time arguing that the Super Bowl is in their sights, but they could make a case that a quick turnaround is likely in The Big Apple. In 2016, the Jacksonville Jaguars went 3-13 and then they spent the most money of any franchise in free agency and made the AFC title game in 2017. New York would have no problem overpaying other top players to join the Jets.
“I think we’re going to be very active in free agency,” GM Mike Maccagnan said( via Newsday). “Everybody is aware we have quite a bit of cap space to work with. There are quite a few players we’re interested in.”
The Jets aren’t completely void of talent on offense. They have two quality receivers in Robbie Anderson (63 catches, 941 yards) and Jermaine Kearse (65 catches, 810 yards) and the No. 6 overall pick in the draft.
The fame and super stardom that comes along with being a New York City quarterback might attract Cousins, especially with more marketing opportunities than any other market. And the quality of current AFC quarterbacks could give him a better chance to reach the Super Bowl within the next several years. The NFC features Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan and rising stars Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Jimmy Garappolo whereas the AFC’s best two QBs are both in the twilight of their careers.
Somehow the Cardinals went 8-8 despite Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert starting a combined nine games. In those contests, Arizona went 5-4 with their quarterbacks both finishing with ratings below 72. That would make a decent argument that they are a quarterback away from being a legitimate contender.
c’mon @KirkCousins8 stop messing with every1 & tell them you’re coming to the desert.
— David Johnson (@DavidJohnson31) March 9, 2018
While Arizona doesn’t have an impressive receiving corps overall, Larry Fitzgerald still managed 109 receptions and the Cards will get David Johnson – one of the elite running backs in the NFL – back from injury. On defense, Arizona had its moments last season, ranking third in the NFL in yards per play allowed, but 19th in points against. But with top-notch defensive players like Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones, the Cardinals could be competitive in a tough division.
The Broncos will have a more difficult time making their pitch to Cousins. While they still have one of the elite defensive players in the NFL in Von Miller, Denver ranked 24th in points allowed and they just traded corner Aqib Talib. Both of the Broncos’ top wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are 30 years old and ranked 64th and 46th last season by Pro Football Focus metrics, respectively.
The best argument Denver could make is their strong recent history and organizational strength. Since 2000, they have only posted a sub-.500 record three times and have made two Super Bowl appearances. Cousins would have to take a leap of faith that they could quickly get back on track after a 5-11 showing last season. John Elway is a good pitchman, no doubt, but the Broncos have a lot working against them.
With the Cleveland Browns off the board following a trade for Tyrod Taylor, there are still a handful of teams that could come in with shocking offers for Cousins including the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants and San Diego Chargers. All of them outside of the Bills would require a surprise trade and a more-than-competitive offer, but with a slew of surprising moves in the books already, anything appears possible this offseason.