The quarterback carousel spun with Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, Aaron Rodgers re-signing with the Green Bay Packers, and the Indianapolis Colts trading Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders this week.
Cousins is left as the crown jewel in the potential trade market and has former Colts punter Pat McAfee pounding his fists on the table for his former team to make a move for the Vikings quarterback.
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McAfee Never Thought He’d Beg Colts to Sign Cousins
Appearing on his podcast on March 10, McAfee made a case for the Colts to sign a proven “game manager,” ergo Cousins.
“Give me Kirk Cousins right now!” McAfee said. “Now, that is not something I have ever said… but we need – with the talent we have – just a game manager. And that is why (Colts owner) Jim Irsay and the brass decided to move on (from Wentz).”
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Cousins has proven to be a quarterback that equals the sum of his parts on offense. With an arsenal of weapons in Minnesota, Cousins threw for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 16 games last season.
An even more impressive stretch: Since Week 8 in 2020, Cousins averaged 274 passing yards per game and thrown 56 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions in 25 games for a 106.6 passer rating.
Cousins’ lack of big-game experience overshadows his statistical steadiness over the years. However, last season, the 33-year-old quarterback led seven game-winning or game-tying drives at the end of regulation or overtime, six of which were on the road. He also has a walk-off overtime win over the New Orleans Saints in the 2019 NFC Wild Card round.
With Indianapolis offloading most of its dues to Wentz and picking up draft capital in the trade with Washington, McAfee’s feelings toward Cousins have changed.
He’s the remainder of his case for Cousins:
I know people, pundits who want to bury certain people, ‘He ain’t a quarterback, he’s a game manager.’ Every quarterback a game manager…
We don’t need a quarterback that’s going to be sporadic. We don’t need a quarterback that’s going to try and die on every single play. We need a quarterback thats’ going to get us in a good position.
You just need a guy not to give the ball to the other team or not make any bone-headed decisions like checking out of runs and s*** like that.
What a Potential Trade Would Look Like
What’s made Cousins a challenging trade prospect is his hefty $45 million cap hit that ranks third in the NFL.
If Minnesota were to trade Cousins, the Vikings are on the hook for at the minimum his $10 million signing bonus. Whether they decide to cover some of his $35 million base salary is one of the most significant talking points involving a trade for Cousins. The more Minnesota is willing to pay, the more they can receive in exchange.
The Colts have nearly $70 million in cap space and picked up a future second- or third-round pick in the Wentz trade they could offer with other picks or players in exchange for Cousins while asking Minnesota to cover some of his salary.
That could leave Indianapolis plenty of funds to bolster their roster in free agency and have a proven quarterback.
Meanwhile, the Vikings would have a clearer future ahead of they look to fortify their roster that has aging veterans from their 2017 NFC Championship run.