The Falcons have already been connected to a couple of available QBs, including Justin Fields and (most recently) Baker Mayfield. There could now be another big-name quarterback to add to the list. Dianna Russini of The Athletic expects the Falcons to “compete” for Kirk Cousins‘ services.
According to Russini, the Falcons believe Cousins is the type of quarterback who can elevate the organization from “fringe playoff team to a contender.” Further, Falcons head coach Raheem Morris is familiar with Cousins based on their time together in Washington.
Quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson has never worked alongside Cousins, but he does come from the same Sean McVay tree as Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell. Russini cites that “seamless transition” as a reason why Cousins would make sense for Atlanta.
Despite coming off a torn Achilles, Cousins is expected to be the first QB domino to fall this offseason. A number of teams have been loosely connected to the veteran, but the majority of reports have focused on a return to Minnesota. Cousins has spent the past six seasons with the Vikings, guiding the team to winning records in three of those campaigns. However, the veteran only has a single playoff win to show for his efforts, and his playoff deficiencies will likely be reflected in his next contract.
Cousins has already earned $231MM in his career, including an initial contract with the Vikings (three years, $84MM) that was fully guaranteed. Cousins didn’t get the same kind of guarantees on his subsequent contracts in 2020 (two years, $66MM) and 2022 (one year, $35MM), but his camp has shown an ability to garner significant contracts throughout his career.
Those guarantees could end up being relevant during this year’s free agency. We previously heard that the Vikings were uncomfortable with some of the guarantee specifics during extension talks with the quarterback, resulting in talks ultimately breaking down. The Vikings have some incentive to re-sign Cousins as soon as possible, as the organization will be left with a $28.5MM dead-money charge if he isn’t re-signed by the start of the 2024 league year (3pm CT March 13). Considering the suitors that are starting to line up, Cousins may prefer to test the waters instead of immediately re-upping.
The Falcons will reportedly be active in looking for an upgrade on Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke. The organization is currently armed with more than $25MM in cap space, and general manager Terry Fontenot has made it clear that he’ll consider every option as he looks to improve the position.
“That’s a top priority for us this offseason,” Fontenot recently said. “We are not going to close any doors. Be it trades, free agency [or] the draft. We’ll make sure we keep an open mind there. We’ll attack it and make sure that we get it right.”