Kirk Cousins’ Agent Says QB Had No Idea Falcons Were Going to Pick Michael Penix Jr.

Cousins didn't know the Falcons were selecting Penix.
Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a
Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Falcons shocked the football world by selecting Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 pick in the 2024 NFL draft. The fact that the Falcons did that a month after signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract made it a puzzling move. If that wasn't enough, Cousins's agent claims his client wasn't informed of Atlanta's draft plans.

During NFL Network's coverage of the draft, Daniel Jeremiah said he had spoken to Cousins' agent Mike McCartney, who had told him the quarterback was left out of the loop. Video of Jeremiah's report is below.

Dianna Russini reported Cousins knew a quarterback would be considered but didn't think his successor would be taken in the first round.

McCartney addressed the selection after it went down.

"Yes, it was a big surprise. We had no idea this was coming. The truth is the whole league had no idea this was coming. We got no heads up," McCartney said [via Mike Garafolo]. "Kirk got a call from the Falcons when they were on the clock. That was the first we heard. It never came up in any conversation."

If true, that's a really strange move by the Falcons. They went all-out to bring Cousins to Atlanta, then rather than help him in the draft they went out and selected his replacement in the top 10 without telling him ahead of time.

Penix is now likely to sit behind Cousins, but he's generally considered to be one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks in the draft, which is why this doesn't seem like a great fit. There are other issues here as well. Penix will turn 24 on May 8, so if he sits behind Cousins for two seasons, he'll be 26 by the time he finally takes the reins of the offense. And he's not much of a runner, so he can't be a package player in the meantime.

The Falcons don't have an out in Cousin's contract until after the 2026 season. That means he's almost certain to be with the franchise for the next three seasons while Penix is on the roster.

Penix had a phenomenal final season at Washington, leading the Huskies to the national title game. He completed 65.4% of his passes for 4,903 yards, with 36 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a passer rating of 157.1. He suffered numerous injuries during his college career but put it all together during his final two seasons. Now it looks like he'll be a backup for the foreseeable future.

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Ryan Phillips


Ryan Phillips is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Ryan has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining the SI team in 2024. He also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. Ryan is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school.