Why Kirk Cousins was never the answer for the Denver Broncos

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos situation with Russell Wilson officially came to an end this offseason when he was released and then later signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This meant that, yet again, the Broncos were in the market for a quarterback. 

As rumors started swirling, it was thought the Broncos were going to be one of the teams fighting for the services of Kirk Cousins. However, they didn’t end up pursuing the former Minnesota Vikings quarterback, and that’s okay.

Why this was a smart decision

Last year, when the team was struggling, the Broncos decided to start prioritizing young players on the defensive side of the ball. This meant getting rid of Randy Gregory and giving guys like Nik Bonitto more playing time. While it didn’t seem like it at the time, this ended up foreshadowing the Broncos' plans this offseason. 

Justin Simmons has been released, Jerry Jeudy has been traded, and plenty of contracts have been reconstructed all to create cap room. Despite fixing their cap space problem, the Broncos have been relatively silent in free agency. It’s clear that a rebuild is among us, and going after Kirk Cousins would only delay this. 

Cousins is 35-years-old and coming off a serious injury, yet he got a four-year contract worth $180 million from the Atlanta Falcons. This is a big risk from the Falcons, but you understand why they did it. They are loaded with offensive talent and, like the Broncos, just haven’t had a quarterback good enough to unlock their potential. On the other hand, the Broncos have some talent on offense, but not enough where signing a quarterback like Cousins puts them in contention for anything. 

Drafting a quarterback makes more sense

There is still a lot of mystery surrounding who may be the next quarterback in Denver, but most people will agree it should be found through the draft. If Sean Payton wasn’t the coach, getting someone who is proven to be a good NFL quarterback, like Cousins, is smart. But Payton knows what makes a successful quarterback, which should give fans faith that he will make the right choice if done in the draft. 

It would be hard for Cousins to be great for the duration of his four-year contract, and even if he was, what do you do when it’s over and he’s 39? The cycle would start again. If the Broncos go through the draft and select J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix, or even Michael Penix Jr. in the first round, you get four years, a fifth-year option, and the chance to sign a player in their mid-to-late-twenties to a second contract.

The Broncos don’t need another unsuccessful quarterback on a big contract 

Again, Cousins does not move the needle much for the Denver Broncos, but let’s say he actually would have, and the Broncos signed him. The biggest criticism of Cousins is that he struggles in big games. He is just 1-4 in playoff games over the course of his 12-year career while also seemingly always struggling in primetime. It would not go over well with anyone involved with the Broncos if another big-money quarterback failed to find success. 

Next. Ugly Contract. Russell Wilson's ugly contract has far-reaching impact. dark

The Broncos are hitting the reset button, which is the best possible route they can take at this point. Signing Kirk Cousins would have done nothing but delay the road back to being a true contender, something that Broncos fans desperately yearn for.