The Washington Redskins have openly admitted already that they plan to retain starting quarterback Kirk Cousins ahead of the 2017 season. Based on that logic, it sounds like the Redskins view Cousins as their long-term answer under center and will likely try to sign him to a big contract.
It’s unclear if Cousins wants to stay in town, however. Cousins recently spoke out about his pending contract situation and was noncommital to returning to D.C. That could be more about putting pressure on the team than himself, but if the money isn’t right, it’s also possible Cousins could look for a better situation elsewhere.
Cousins flat out leaving in 2017 still doesn’t seem likely, as the Redskins can issue the franchise tag again and work toward a long-term deal. Still, if the two sides can’t come to an agreement, it’s not impossible to envision Cousins walking away and signing a huge deal with another NFL franchise. If that happens, we’ve got five perfect possible landing spots:
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners probably stand out above anyone else, as they’re fully expected to sign Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Shanahan worked with Cousins in Washington. Considering the 49ers currently do not have an answer under center, it could make sense for a rookie head coach to chase a stable quarterback option and build out his team with draft picks at other spots.
San Francisco is more than just a quarterback away from returning to the playoffs and Kyle Shanahan knows that. If he can get Kirk Cousins, he’ll at least try to make it happen so quarterback is one less thing he has to worry about.
Denver doesn’t have any direct ties to Kirk Cousins (yet), but they also don’t have their quarterback situation settled. The clear obstacle between the Broncos and another playoff run this year was a spotty passing game, so it would make good sense for John Elway to look to upgrade the position.
Trevor Siemian wasn’t great and Paxton Lynch might not be ready to take on the starting gig, and that’s naturally sparked various rumors which have mostly involved the likes of Tony Romo, but could also stretch out to Kirk Cousins. It’s unlikely Denver wants to hand Cousins a massive contract, but the need for steady quarterback play is certainly there.
The Texans are another team in a bad spot, as they just tossed a ton of money to Brock Osweiler and it didn’t pay off. Turning around and throwing a huge contract at Kirk Cousins probably isn’t realistic, but if there is some way for them to get out from under Osweiler’s deal and move on to a more reliable option, they need to at least consider it.
Houston has a top shelf defense and plenty of offensive weapons, but the one thing they lack is a competent decision-maker under center. Tom Savage and Osweiler aren’t what they need and Cousins could be. The question is if there is a realistic path to getting him into Texas.
Buffalo could be another front-runner, as they have no real ties to their current crop of quarterbacks. In fact, they’re going to save cash by letting Tyrod Taylor walk in free agency and they haven’t promised a thing to E.J. Manuel or Cardale Jones – neither of which have shown to be the long-term answer.
Could that mean the Bills – with a new coaching staff in place – could go get their guy (meaning Cousins) and make that final push to return to the playoffs? It would make sense. The Bills have been knocking on the door of the playoffs for years and have a terrific running game and a talented defense. The one thing they lack? A quality passer to get them through close games.
One other option that seems beyond obvious is the Browns, which would be hilarious considering they signed Robert Griffin III last year. Both RG3 and Kirk Cousins being in Cleveland wouldn’t make financial success, so bringing in Cousins would naturally be preceded by Griffin being cut or traded.
Still, the Browns have long been enamored with Cousins and he’d undoubtedly give them their best passer in years. Cousins (nor anyone else, really) prefers to leave a good situation for one of the worst in the league, but the Browns could pay him a hefty price and it would also take care of their current position – i.e., they wouldn’t feel forced to reach for a less than ideal quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Where Will Kirk Cousins Sign in 2017?
It’s always fun to consider all of the options, but the reality is Kirk Cousins isn’t going anywhere. Not only can the Redskins stave off his departure for another year if they so choose, but no good quarterback wants to leave an offense he knows when he has weapons and a good coaching staff around him. It just doesn’t happen.
Cousins has proven over the last two years that he can put up numbers and step up in big games. He’s been inconsistent at times, but he got the Redskins to the playoffs in 2015 and almost did it again in 2016. If Washington is smart, they give him the contract he wants and put this issue to rest.
On the off chance Cousins does find a way out of D.C, of course, look no further than the 49ers to be his next NFL team.