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Pelissero: Don't rule out the Broncos making a run for Kirk Cousins

The NFL insider says Denver could be a dark horse for the Vikings QB's signature.
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Could Kirk Cousins be set to link up with the Vikings' old enemy, Sean Payton next season?

That's the possibility mentioned on Friday by insider Tom Pelissero, who said he wouldn't rule out the Denver Broncos making a run for the soon-to-be free agent Vikings quarterback.

With Payton's Broncos moving on from Russell Wilson after a poor season under center, Pelissero suggests that Payton would want another veteran signal-caller to lead the team, which he believes has a legitimate shot at the playoffs despite being in the tough AFC West with the Super Bowl winning Kansas City Chiefs, the Jim Harbaugh-run LA Chargers, and the Las Vegas Raiders.

"Anything's possible in the NFL, I know the track record on Sean Payton is he really has not played with a rookie QB a whole lot," Pelissero says. "He's always wanted to have a veteran. I fully anticipate they're looking at everything.

"Jarrett Stidham the guy they've got in. house, they got him on an economical deal ... but I would think they would look at all these free agent quarterbacks. I wouldn't even rule out the possbility that the Broncos would make a run at Kirk Cousins."

Nov 13, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton looks to the scoreboard in the second quarter game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium.

Sean Payton

Whether the Broncos will come down to the money, with the Broncos on the hook for $39 million of Wilson's contract next season whether he plays or not.

The latest projections for Kirk Cousins suggest he's looking at a deal in the realm of $35-40 million a season, a sum that may be easier to reach with the NFL raising the salary cap by $30 million this offseason.

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The Vikings are still the most likely destination for Cousins, but a potential sticking point could be the amount of guaranteed money is in his contract, with Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reporting this week that the Vikings front office "really likes Cousins, but it’s also been made clear that they’re not going to go contractually where the previous regime did twice, and give Cousins a fully guaranteed deal."

"It would depend on the number, and you can certainly look at the numbers on paper and say how in the world are they're going to get this done," Pelissero says of the Cousins to Broncos potential.

"Sean Payton is going to want somebody. Sean Payton ... believes this is a playoff team ... they're going to be aggressive. Everything he's ever known about team building is that he's willing to move those chips forward, he's willing to take a run right now.

"If he believes Kirk Cousins gives him best chance to compete in a really tough division ... I wouldn't take anything off the table."