Kirk Cousins

What Should the Vikings be Willing to Offer Kirk Cousins in Free Agency?

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The Minnesota Vikings have a big decision to make when it comes to Kirk Cousins’ contract. The veteran quarterback is a free agent, clearly toward the end of his career, and missed the second half of the 2023 season with an injury.

But if the Vikings want to be a competitive team in 2024, signing Cousins might be the best course of action.

Are Vikings and Kirk Cousins Still a Fit for Each Other?

Unfortunately for the Vikings, things aren’t that simple. The Vikings are middle of the pack as far as teams with cap space are concerned with a little under $30 million.

That doesn’t leave much flexibility if they re-sign Cousins. Plus, there is no guarantee that Cousins wants to remain in Minnesota with some free agency predictions having Cousins sign elsewhere. How can we make sense of the Kirk Cousins contract situation with the Vikings heading into 2024?

How Much is Kirk Cousins Worth?

Needless to say, Cousins isn’t going to sign one of the biggest contracts ever. But it might surprise some people what his value could be now that he’s a free agent. A year ago, the Vikings gave him a one-year deal worth $35 million. Even with Cousins a year older and coming off an injury, his annual salary could top that value.

       

Cousins could be in line to earn close to $40 million per season. Keep in mind that a dozen quarterbacks have a contract giving them an annual salary of at least $40 million. Cousins will surely be in that neighborhood with his next contract. It’s just a matter of whether he gets two or three years and if a team is willing to guarantee the entire contract.

At the moment, it doesn’t seem as if the Vikings are willing to give Cousins a guaranteed deal given his age and injury risk after tearing his Achilles last season.

Who Are Kirk Cousins’ Other Suitors?

If the Vikings aren’t willing to commit to Cousins, other teams will be interested. The Falcons, for example, appear to be a quarterback away from being a serious contender in the NFC, making Cousins an appealing option for them.

The Raiders are also a possible suitor with the team ready to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo. Teams like the Giants, Steelers, and Patriots could also make a play for Cousins in free agency given their level of dissatisfaction with their current quarterback situation. In other words, Cousins has options beyond Minnesota.

Does Minnesota Have Other Options?

On the other side, what are Minnesota’s options if Cousins isn’t re-signed? With the 11th overall pick in the draft, the Vikings could start fresh with a rookie. Trading up to one of the first two or three picks in the draft is also a possibility if the Vikings strongly desire one rookie over the others. 

       

Several veteran quarterbacks could be on Minnesota’s radar. Baker Mayfield, Gardner Minshew, and Ryan Tannehill are free agents with experience and a track record of success. Kyler Murray is a trade candidate while Russell Wilson could potentially become available. Of course, it’s debatable which of those options makes the most sense and who would be an upgrade over Cousins.

The Verdict

Ultimately, Cousins should be worth at least a two-year, fully guaranteed contract at around $40 million per season for the Vikings. Three guaranteed seasons would be playing with fire with Cousins coming off the Achilles injury. However, Minnesota may have to take that chance and just go for it.

Going with the option you know is usually better than the option you don’t know. The Vikings know Cousins, making him a better option than bringing in an outside quarterback. Despite the injury concerns, Cousins has played some of the best football of his career over the past two seasons with Kevin O’Connell.

With Jordan Addison emerging as a viable partner for Justin Jefferson, the Vikings have a team that could make some noise in 2024. Therefore, it makes sense for the Vikings to do whatever it takes to keep Cousins and take their shot.

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