By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8
As the free agent period approaches, one of the hottest names and biggest difference makers for a franchise is Kirk Cousins. I think it’s safe to say that, with the signing of Alex Smith, Washington will not be putting a Franchise Tag on Cousins which means he can start looking for his next team on March 14th.
There are quite a few teams desperately searching for a franchise quarterback, but are they all viable options at this point? Do they have the money to pay Cousins the huge contract he wants? Do they have the cap space? Are they the type of organization that he would want to play for? Let’s look at the front runners…
It would seem that Cousins has a sense of humor about the situation as he tweets while he and his son are watching ESPN…
And while it’s nice that he can have a bit of fun with the situation, there are a few fanbases who are taking this very seriously. He could be the final piece of their Super Bowl dream puzzle… or just get them up to eight wins a year!
1. Cleveland Browns. I start with the Browns because they’ve clearly got the most cap space and the most money available to spend. They’ve also been in arguably the longest quarterback drought of any team in the NFL.
The only knock on them is that if Cousins actually wants to go to a winning team, the changes in Cleveland are too recent to offer any proof that they are turning things around. But if future hall-of-fame left tackle Joe Thomas has his way, this is where Cousins will land.
I hear Cleveland is nice this time of year, that is, if you’d like to have a statue someday… https://t.co/Geo5CzvI5J
2. New York Jets. With over $70 million in cap space, they certainly could pay him the high price he’ll want. The trick will be convincing him the Jets are poised to win. Now, in 2017 they were the favorite team to finish dead last in the NFL and instead put up a 5-11 record with Josh McCown behind center. That should give Cousins hope that they’ve got some pieces in place.
They’ve also got the 6th pick in the 2018 draft which could net them Saquon Barkely, Calvin Ridley, or someone equally able to help their offense. These factors will be part of their sales pitch. Is it enough?
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) February 20, 2018
3. Denver Broncos. John Elway is desperate for a quarterback, no matter what the guys on his roster believe. Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Brock Osweiler have to be watching the Cousins drama with baited breath…. and possible a packed bag in the front closet. While the Broncos only have around $27 million in cap space, they offer the winning culture that Cousins may find appealing. It’s only been two seasons since they were in the Super Bowl and even Von Miller thinks Cousins is the last piece they need to return after 2018 season.
— NBC Sports Redskins (@NBCSRedskins) February 15, 2018
These are the big players. The most likely spots for Cousins. But they are not the only ones. Jaguars, Bills, Giants and Dolphins all need quarterback help but they either lack the cap space to pay his salary or are just too far down the winning chart to draw his attention.
Kirk Cousins’ odds, per @BovadaLV
Wherever Cousins lands, whether fans think he is awesome or average, this story will be the biggest free agent signing of the offseason. While there are quite a few QB’s on the market, Cousins will demand the largest paycheck and will instantly feel the pressure to turn around his new team. It should be very interesting to watch the stories fly as the Wheel of Cousins turns…. Where do you think he will land?
Talk Free Agents and NFL with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8