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Report: Broncos 'Top Option' to Trade for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins

Denver again linked to Captain Kirk.

Kirk Cousins is quickly becoming synonymous with "trade." And "trade" with the Denver Broncos.

Per The Athletic's Chad Graff, the Broncos are a "top option" to acquire the Vikings quarterback this offseason. Graff also named the Steelers and Panthers as potential suitors while speculating that Minnesota could eat a portion of Cousins' $35 million salary-cap figure in order to facilitate a deal.

The estimated cost at full pop? A pair of 2022 late-round draft picks.

"Very few teams have the space to take on a player with that large of a hit. Because of that, the number of teams capable of making a trade for Cousins without the Vikings taking on additional money is slim," Graff wrote. "The top options for a Cousins trade seem to be the Broncos, Steelers and Panthers, with a couple of other teams perhaps marginally interested. The Panthers wouldn’t have enough cap space to incur an additional $35 million. The Broncos and Steelers barely would, but that’s without factoring in free agents or a rookie draft class.

"Because of that, it seems fair to think Cousins’ trade value without the Vikings incurring any more of his salary cap would be two Day 3 picks — just a little bit less than what Smith was traded for."

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The Broncos have been repeatedly connected to Cousins, who finished ninth in the NFL in 2021 with 4,221 yards on 66.3% passing. His 33 air touchdowns also ranked ninth, and his cumulative QB rating (103.1) placed fifth. He, too, nearly cut his interceptions (7) in half, down from 13 last season, despite attempting the 10th-most passes (561). Cousins finished as Pro Football Focus' No. 6 signal-caller out of 39 qualifiers.

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Cousins, 33, joined the Vikings in 2018 following his first six years with Washington. The two-time Pro Bowler, having since inked a short-term extension, is under contract through 2022.

Denver is expected to be a major player in the pending QB market, particularly if general manager (and former Vikings exec) George Paton hires an offensive-minded head coach. The team has only one QB — Drew Lock — signed for next season with former starter Teddy Bridgewater set to walk in unrestricted free agency.

9News' Mike Klis recently reported that Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Seattle's Russell Wilson are Plan A and Plan B, respectively, for the Broncos. Klis, however, named Cousins among possible Plan Cs.

"The Broncos are looking at Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson. I think there's a 'Big Four'. Those two, with Rodgers being head-and-shoulders Plan A, Wilson Plan B, [Jimmy] Garoppolo and [Kirk] Cousins in that next group, also," Klis said last Thursday on 104.3 The Fan. "I guess the reason why you'd sell yourself on Garoppolo and Cousins is they're still a step up from what you've got but you wouldn't have to give up all your assets to get him."

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