Quarterbacks have dominated the conversation thus far in an NFL offseason that is still quite young. Deshaun Watson's unhappiness in Houston got things started, the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff trade was the first major domino to actually fall, and now headlines about Carson Wentz and even Russell Wilson are everywhere.
Like so many others who play his position, Kirk Cousins has also been roped into the chaos. Rumors about Cousins being traded to the 49ers or Broncos or Colts –– based on mere speculation and nothing more –– have been a popular topic for weeks now. And I get it. Because of his contract and some of the unfair narratives that surround his career, Cousins is a popular scapegoat among Vikings fans who are itching for a QB with a higher ceiling.
But there are several major reasons why I think a Cousins trade is very unlikely. The most important one is that Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman are under pressure to win in 2021. And short of acquiring Deshaun Watson, which isn't happening, no available quarterback would give the Vikings a better chance at winning this season than Cousins. Trading him and building for the future would be a long-term move, and the two men leading the Vikings don't necessarily have the job security to do something like that.
Last week, Zimmer said "Kirk's our guy" at the quarterback position, making it clear that the defense, not the offense, is what needs to be fixed in 2021.
And in case you don't buy into my reasoning for why a Cousins trade is doubtful, take it from The Athletic's Chad Graff, who reported this week that the Vikings haven't made any calls exploring a deal for their veteran QB.
Speculation has escalated recently that the Vikings might look to trade Cousins. But the Vikings don’t seem to share that sentiment. The team hasn’t made a single call to another team looking to trade Cousins, according to a source. They want to be in contention for a playoff run and believe they have a team that can do that with Cousins at the helm. They don’t want to get worse at quarterback.
Zimmer and Rick Spielman would be on the hot seat if they finish below .500 for a second straight season. They’re not looking for a full rebuild at the position right now.
Is a Cousins trade impossible? Of course not. Anything is possible in the NFL for the right price. Cousins' contract isn't ideal for building a complete roster, and his slow starts in the past two seasons have hurt the Vikings. But Watson and his no-trade clause aren't walking through the doors at TCO Performance Center. And that means the Vikings' best option for winning football games and getting back to the playoffs is Cousins. If he were to be traded, it would have to be for a return that was simply too good to pass up.
It’s important to stress again that the Vikings aren’t actively looking to trade Cousins. If a deal comes about, it’s because the other team made an offer the Vikings would be crazy to turn down. But outside of that, Cousins will be back under center come Week 1.
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