With the Denver Broncos expected to move on from veteran quarterback Russell Wilson in the offseason, the team will begin to asses their options for their future starting quarterback position. The team can explore various scenarios such as drafting a day-one rookie, trading for a veteran, signing a veteran free agent, or naming Jarrett Stidham the starter as a bridge option heading into 2024, which as of now, seems to be the most realistic scenario.
The 2024 list of available quarterbacks through free agency currently includes Jacoby Brissett, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Kirk Cousins, and Garnder Minshew as the most attractive names on the market. Other quarterbacks who could potentially appear on the trade block would include Justin Fields, Kyler Murray, Mac Jones, and Jimmy Garoppolo among others. However, the quarterback who will likely draw the most attention, if made available, would be Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Cousins, 35, will be entering the 13th season of his NFL career and is currently in line to become an unrestricted free agent in March. If he were to hit the open market, the Broncos would likely have some strong competition if they were to pursue him. Financially wise, it could get tricky for the Broncos if they got into a bidding war given their financial situation with Russell Wilson's contract.
In 2023, Cousins completed 69.5% of his passes (second-highest of his career) for 2,331 yards, 18 touchdowns, and five interceptions. This put him on pace for 4,953 passing yards, 38 touchdown passes, and 10 interceptions. Prior to his Achilles injury that ended his 2023 season, Cousins was putting up career numbers and was on pace to be the league's undisputed MVP. Producing these numbers at 35 years old is extremely impressive.
Cousins is also coming off three straight seasons in Minnesota with at least 4,200 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes. The 4X Pro-Bowler is an extremely talented quarterback and does not receive nearly enough praise for what he has done, especially when Minnesota's offensive line ranked near the bottom of the league in recent years. He can virtually take over any game with his arm, even when his run game is not effective -- something that could greatly benefit Sean Payton's offense as we saw Drew Brees do so effectively in New Orleans with Payton.
If Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah were to let Cousins test free agency, this is someone the Broncos cannot let get away from them. As the Vikings currently hold the 12th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, they could look to acquire a young quarterback and move on from Cousins. The 12-year NFL vet would instantly transform Denver's passing game and boost the offense's scoring total. He is expected to recover from his Achilles injury well in time for the 2024 regular season and could be due for a Comeback Player of the Year campaign.