While Kirk Cousins has been the Vikings’ starter for four years now, his status came up constantly ahead of his 2018 free agency bid. Kyle Shanahan confirmed the 49ers would have been in play for Cousins in 2018 — for what would have been a reunion between he and the QB he coached while Washington’s OC — but San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo extension preempted such a pursuit. Washington’s head coach at the time, however, believes the 49ers would have coughed up a considerable trade package for Cousins prior to October 2017’s Garoppolo trade. Jay Gruden said Washington could have obtained two first-rounders and perhaps two seconds for Cousins ahead of the 2017 deadline, and the then-WFT HC said — during an appearance on the Kevin Sheehan Show, via the Washington Post’s Jake Russell (Twitter links) — Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen effectively killed such talks due to not wanting to reunite Shanahan and Cousins.
The 49ers gave up only a second-round pick for Garoppolo, though Cousins was a far more established starter at the time. The 49ers were mentioned in trade rumors regarding Cousins ahead of the 2017 draft, prior to his second Washington franchise tag, but Shanahan has only confirmed the team was planning to go after him in free agency. Gruden suggested Washington still had hopes of re-signing Cousins then; the team walled off this path after trading for Alex Smith in January 2018. Washington has long since moved on, firing Gruden during the 2019 season and Allen at its conclusion, though a notable void still exists for the franchise at QB.
Here is more from around pro football:
- The XFL is not planning to launch its latest reboot until 2023, but another spring football attempt is in the works. Fox Sports is aiming another effort at establishing the United States Football League and has slated the effort for April, Ben Fischer of the Sports Business Journal reports. The USFL represents the best effort yet of a spring league in America; its ill-fated plan to move to the fall in 1986 led to its demise after three seasons. Fox employees Daryl Johnston and Mike Pereira, along with The Spring League co-founder Brian Woods, are set to be involved with this latest spring effort. Games would be televised primarily on FS1. Details are scarce at this point, but the recent Alliance of American Football and XFL 2.0 forays illustrate the uphill battle spring football presents.
- The NFL’s push to play a game in Germany is expected to come to fruition by Super Bowl weekend, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noting plans for the league’s future in Germany will become clear by February. The league is set to begin playing games in Germany annually either next season or in 2023, depending on COVID-19 restrictions, JLC adds. This would up the total of international games to at least four — two in London, one in Mexico City and one in a to-be-determined German city. With the NFL having sent more than two games to London in several previous seasons, it is possible the number of international games will surpass four.
- Additional COVID testing is on tap for the post-Thanksgiving week. The league will require masks for all players, regardless of vaccination status, from Nov. 25-Dec. 1 at team facilities, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. All players and staffers will be tested twice the week following Thanksgiving.