With veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins playing out the final contract year of a five-season-plus stretch with the Vikes, Minnesota could either cut bait with their starting QB preemptively and most likely sacrifice the current campaign or attempt one last run with him at the helm before rebooting next spring.
If their front office chose the former, Cousins would profile as an obvious “rental” quarterback for the New York Jets to look at via trade — which has become a trendy theory that ESPN Get Up’s Mike Greenberg and former NYJ general manager Mike Tannenbaum pushed on September 15 — assuming both Zach Wilson and Minnesota go off the rails in the coming weeks.
However, respected Vikings writer Judd Zulgad shot down that theory on September 15, labeling it as “highly unlikely.” He explained why to his 48K followers during a USA Today Vikings Wire article that he published just after Get Up aired.
Kirk Cousins’ No-Trade Clause & Vikings Ownership Could Squash Jets QB Trade Theory
For those that want Cousins running the NYJ offense in 2023 rather than Wilson, Zulgad’s analysis might be displeasing.
“Considering all the excitement that surrounded the Jets, it’s not surprising that ESPN and ‘Get Up’ host Mike Greenberg, a lifelong Jets fanatic, would embrace the opportunity to try to find a way to get Cousins to New York,” Zulgad began.
Continuing: “The fact Cousins is in the final year of his contract only fuels this fire. But there is one major sticking point: Cousins has a no-trade clause and it’s hard to see him waiving that to play in New York. Cousins is about as un-New York as it gets and, judging from what we saw on the Netflix docuseries ‘Quarterback,’ doesn’t seem like he would be interested in uprooting his family and moving to the East Coast. Cousins also is meticulous in his planning and is about as professionally unspontaneous as it gets.”
He added later that “Cousins [also] made it clear in the spring that any contract negotiations wouldn’t take place again until free agency opens in March [of 2024].”
In order to finalize this deal, Cousins would have to be willing to learn an entirely new playbook/system on the fly, either move his family (and children) in the midst of a school year or split off from them for a few months, and go from the quiet, low-key nature of Minnesota to the hustle and bustle of NYC. When you put it like that, the Vikings insider has a point, but that’s not all that stands in the Jets’ way according to Zulgad.
“Other than trading defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to Baltimore in October 2020 for two draft picks, the Vikings under owners Zygi and Mark Wilf rarely oversee moves that potentially weaken the team for the sake of the future,” he stated.
0-2 does not feel like a large enough deficit to cause a conservative ownership team like that to consider trading their starting quarterback. Now, if the Vikings somehow fall to 1-5 or 0-6, maybe Zulgad revisits this rumor before the trade deadline. Outside of that occurring, this trade doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.
Why Ex-Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum is On Board With Kirk Cousins Trade
After Greenberg urged his panelists to support his Cousins to New York trade, Tannenbaum indulged him.
“It makes a ton of sense,” the former GM replied. “If I’m the Jets, at $555,000 a week Greeny, which is what Kirk Cousins [costs this year], that’s very reasonable.”
Tannenbaum suggested a third-round pick as fair compensation for the QB rental.
From a Vikings perspective, he argued: “And if I’m the Minnesota Vikings and know that I can’t get to where I want to go to beat San Fran, Dallas and some of the other powers in the NFC, let’s start the rebuild process. He’s not going to be there next year anyway, and in another week or two if we’re 1-3, 0-4, this makes a ton of sense.”
Tannenbaum did not consider Cousins’ opinion during his initial response, but when his no-trade clause was brought up by ESPN insider Dan Graziano later, the ex-GM questioned why he wouldn’t want to leave Minnesota for the chance at a postseason run in New York.