Kirk Cousins To Sign With Falcons

The Falcons will make their upgrade at quarterback. Kirk Cousins is coming to town, according to his agent. The Falcons are giving the longtime Vikings passer a four-year deal,’s Adam Schefter reports.

After steady buzz about Cousins changing teams in free agency once again, he will give the Falcons a major upgrade at a position they have struggled to staff since trading Matt Ryan. It will also mean a new era for the Vikings, who have a massive need to fill now.

As he is wont to do, Cousins will cash in big. The Falcons are giving him a four-year, $180MM deal,’s Tom Pelissero reports. The contract includes $100MM guaranteed and features a $50MM signing bonus as part of that commitment. This $45MM-per-year deal represents Cousins’ first AAV beyond $35MM.

Additionally, Pelissero notes $90MM is guaranteed at signing and an additional $10MM will lock in by March 2025, making the $100MM a practical guarantee. A $2MM incentive exists each year for a Super Bowl win, bringing the contract’s max value to $188MM.

The Vikings made a last-ditch push to retain Cousins on Sunday night,’s James Palmer reports. This looks to have driven up the price. Cousins has already made more than $230MM in his career; he is set to add a considerable amount to that whopping total in Atlanta.

Minnesota attempted to retain Cousins, but it became clear a price ceiling existed. The Vikings had refused to provide guarantees into a third year for the veteran quarterback during 2023 negotiations, and it is believed that remained an issue. That is not exactly surprising, as Cousins is coming off an Achilles tear. Still, the Vikings had bent to Cousins during 2018, 2020 and 2022 negotiations. They will now be tasked with replacing the third-longest-tenured QB1 in franchise history.

For the Falcons, this is a major change from where they were last year. The team memorably passed on a Lamar Jackson pursuit, though it was not exactly alone on that front, and anointed Desmond Ridder early last offseason. Ridder did not fare well as Atlanta’s starter, being benched on multiple occasions. Taylor Heinicke remains on Atlanta’s roster, but the team made no secret of its desire to unlock more from its passing game. Cousins’ arrival stands to be big news for ex-Terry Fontenot top-10 picks Drake London and Kyle Pitts.

Cousins, 35, has never been confused with a top-tier quarterback. But he has offered stability for multiple franchises. Cousins’ Washington QB1 status proved fleeting, as negotiations soured and led to a two-franchise tag route out of town. Cousins repeatedly said he wanted to stay in Minnesota, but the Big Ten product will venture to a new region in a Falcons effort to change their trajectory under Raheem Morris and OC Zac Robinson. Cousins and his wife were believed to be scouting real estate in Atlanta recently, and the team will change its QB pay structure from the past two years.

While Cousins offered the Vikings stability leading up to his Achilles tear, Minnesota was not an automatic contender despite the spree of big-ticket payments to the former fourth-round pick. The Vikings won one playoff game with Cousins and missed three NFC brackets during his healthy seasons. Cousins was playing at a high level before his October Achilles setback, however, ranking seventh in QBR in a span that also included a Justin Jefferson injury. Still, Cousins has one Pro Bowl nod as a non-alternate (2022) in his career.

Arthur Blank said last year he wanted to reset around a rookie-QB contract; that charted course lasted one year. But the Falcons were ready to trade three first-round picks for Deshaun Watson in 2022. After Ridder underwhelmed, they are back in the high-priced QB business. Meanwhile, the Vikings will take on a $28.5MM dead money hit for not re-signing Cousins by March 13. Void years used to drop Cousins’ 2023 cap hit will lead to that penalty.

This will be a big swing for Fontenot and Co., who probably had a chance to add Georgia native Justin Fields via trade. The Falcons’ desire for a better passer has stalled Fields’ market, but with Baker Mayfield staying with the Buccaneers and Cousins leaving Minnesota, the Bears may need to sit tight with their three-year starter.

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