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Kirk Cousins to the Falcons: The reaction from Atlanta

Falcons analysts and reporters have been having their say on the deal.
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There has been no shortage of reaction in Minnesota to Kirk Cousins' decision to leave the Vikings for the Atlanta Falcons, but what's the view from Georgia?

Michael Cunningham, Falcons columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said that Cousins represents "the best QB available," but that he comes with risks – not least the $180M ($100M guaranteed) four-year contract and the Achilles injury that prematurely ended his 2023 season.

"Concerns about the recovery from Achilles surgery was one reason I believed Cousins was too risky for the Falcons. Financial commitment is the other. Could the Falcons sign Cousins and have enough salary-cap dollars left to address other needs?" he writes.

"We’ll see if the salary-cap hit from the Cousins contract will prevent the Falcons from signing good free agents at other, needed positions in free agency ... in the meantime, signing Cousins at the very least will bring the Falcons out of the QB wilderness after two years of wandering," he added.

To Josh Kendall, Falcons writer for The Athletic, the Cousins signing represents a "$100 million gamble."

"The Falcons appear to be done with long-term goals. It seems 81-year-old owner Arthur Blank has been patient long enough," he wrote.

He cites comments made by Kwesi Adofo-Mensah that the Vikings are "moving forward with plans that allow us to continue building a roster that can compete for a championship," and responded to Cousins' departure by signing three defenders.

Kendall said this was similar to the strategy taken by Atlanta last season when they entered the season with QBs Desmond Ridder and Marcus Mariota.

"'Yeah, we tried that. Good luck to you,' they could be forgiven for thinking," Kendall said of the Atlanta front office.

Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops to pass against the New York Giants during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Writing for Falcon Report on SI's FanNation, Daniel Flickr says Cousins brings "precisely what [Atlanta] wanted under center – a strong leader, an accurate passer and an established player capable of taking the organization back to the postseason."

He "gives the Falcons the best and most accomplished quarterback in the NFC South and is a substantial upgrade over Ridder and Heinicke," Flickr wrote, also raising concerns about the price and Cousins' ability to get the Falcons into Super Bowl contention.

"To date, Cousins hasn't proven consistently capable. In eight full years as a starter, his teams have finished either at or within a game of .500 on five occasions," he writes, adding: "Beyond that, Cousins has struggled against good teams and under the playoff lights."

"Consider further that Cousins, who turns 36 in August, is coming off a torn right Achilles suffered Oct. 29, and there are several questions surrounding his acquisition."

William McFadden, writing for The Falcoholic, is cautiously optimistic, saying Cousins "should immediately give Atlanta stability at quarterback and help elevate the young talent around him."

While he acknowledges "things can go sideways," the potential for Cousins throwing accurate passes for wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts makes one "consider the upside of this move."

"Meanwhile, Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier, now part of an offense that should stress defenses through the air, will have more room to operate and could evolve as pass-catchers," he writes.

While this isn't a take from Atlanta, ESPN's Kevin Clark was in favor of the move made by the Falcons, saying there's a difference in views between NFL fans and NFL coaches when it comes to Cousins.

"Coaches love Kirk Cousins. Why? Because last year before his injury he was the best quarterback at throws over 10 yards and separately throws in rhythm ... he makes the throws that coaches want to see. This solves all this quarterback problems ... this is a home run for them."