Denver Broncos: Kirk Cousins another possible trade option at QB?

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 03: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on January 3, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 03: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on January 3, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

One name that has seen some traction early in the 2021 NFL offseason is Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. While nothing substantive in terms of trade rumors have materialized, it’s still worth examining from the Denver Broncos perspective.

Yes, the Denver Broncos should attempt to trade for Cousins.

There are a couple of connections between the signal-caller and the Broncos, and they both hold water.

Firstly, George Paton was just hired to be the Denver Broncos’ general manager, who spent quite a while in the Vikings front office, so it’s safe to assume he helped construct the original deal to land Cousins before the 2018 seasons.

Secondly, during Kirk Cousins’s free agent saga a few years ago, he and the Broncos were rumored to be interested in each other.  Instead, we landed his counterpart, Case Keenum.

Now three years into his Vikings tenure, the team does not have much to show for. They did win a playoff game last year, but it was the Wild Card round. They failed to make the playoffs in 2018 and 2020, and their defense is poor.

Cousins is taking up a solid chunk of the Vikings‘ cap space, and it’s clear they are heading toward a rebuild.  They had 15 draft picks in last year’s draft and have some young, talented offensive pieces.

It’s safe to say that the Vikings expected more to come of the Cousins’ era, and they surely have to be thinking about replacing him soon.

The other side of this argument is that Kirk Cousins has never been the issue in Minnesota, which is totally true. Cousins has been a very efficient passer since 2018, passing for 91 TDs, just 29 INTs, and a passer rating of 103.6.

That’s a 3.14:1 touchdown to interception ratio, folks. That’s good.

Not only that, according to PFF, Cousins is the second-highest graded quarterback in the NFL in the fourth quarter. He possesses a 111.7 passer rating in the red zone and has the 7th highest PFF grade for quarterbacks in the NFL since 2018.

It’s worth noting that Kirk Cousins takes a beating behind a poor Vikings offensive line.  He was sacked a whopping 39 times in 2020, which is over two sacks taken a game.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, we know that Cousins has performed very well in Minnesota given the circumstances, and I would be confident in saying that the Denver Broncos offensive situation, especially along the offensive line is much better than the Vikings.

Cousins is stuck in an interesting spot among NFL quarterback hierarchy. It is clear that Cousins is probably not elite, as he has limited playoff experience and historically does not perform well in prime time, but he has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL the last five years, and he has never played poorly enough to warrant being replaced.

He’s a top 12-15 quarterback, who has flashes of being top five.  He doesn’t exactly possess any of the ‘intangibles’ that a franchise quarterback would possess, but he is a wildly accurate passer and has been that for years.

In fact, 2015 was the first year he became a full-time starter, so he just wrapped up his 6th year.  In those 6 years, his average stat line looks like this: 28.6 TDs, 10.83 INTs, 4,223 yards, all on a 67.98 percent completion rate.

So, if the Broncos were to trot out Kirk Cousins as QB1 next year, we could expect roughly 29 TDs, 11 INTs, over 4,000 yards, and a completion percentage nearing 70 percent.

Guys, I get it, Kirk Cousins isn’t the sexy quarterback name we’ve been chasing since 2016, but, my goodness, the man can play.  Additionally, I would argue that the Broncos have the perfect team composition for a quarterback who may need a little help to be successful.

Lots of people do think that Cousins can’t perform well without a strong supporting cast, and I totally see their opinion. The thing is, though, is the Broncos do have a rather strong supporting cast, so, logically, we could expect Cousins to thrive, right?

What makes this move make even more sense is that Cousins would not cost nearly as much as a Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson would.  Could the Broncos realistically trade for Kirk Cousins without giving up their first-round pick in 2021? Yep, they could.

I think the popular opinion around NFL front offices is that Cousins is just another guy, who will probably end up making a few more pit spots on different teams before hanging it up.

Most teams who are not wildly successful for a certain period of time need a scapegoat, and usually, that person is the head coach, but, in many instances, it’s also the quarterback.

Trading for Cousins probably won’t happen, and he’ll most likely be the Vikings starter for at least one more year, but I am sure that more trade rumors will be swirling around about Cousins, as we’ve already seen a historic offseason unfold from a quarterback standpoint.