Insider Links ‘Aggressive’ Broncos to Rival 4-Time Pro Bowl QB

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

Getty Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos are going to be “aggressive” to find the right quarterback for Head Coach Sean Payton this offseason, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. So much so that they could even try signing pending Minnesota Vikings free agent Kirk Cousins.

“All options are on the table for the Broncos at quarterback,” Pelissero said on “The Rich Eisen Show” on February 23. “I would think that they’re going to look at all these free agent quarterbacks. I wouldn’t even rule out the possibility that the Broncos would make a run at Kirk Cousins.”

Cousins, 35, is coming off a one-year, $35 million contract.

He will count for at least $28 million against the Vikings’ cap if they don’t extend him by March 13, four days before Russell Wilson’s $35 million salary for 2025 becomes fully guaranteed.

There is mutual interest in Cousins’ return to the Vikings. But the Vikings might not be willing to meet the four-time Pro Bowler’s contract demands. Spotrac projects him to command a deal worth $39.3 million.

Cousins suffered a torn Achilles suffered in Week 8 last season.

He completed 69.5% of his passes for 2,331 yards, 18 touchdowns, and five interceptions, going 4-4 on the season. He also appears to be recovering well.

“It’ll depend on the number,” Pelissero said. “You can certainly look at the numbers on paper and say, ‘How in the world are they going to get this done? They owe Russell Wilson $39 million whether he’s on the team or not.’ But again, Sean Payton is going to want somebody. Sean Payton believes – he said it before last season – he believed this was a playoff team.

“He’s gonna have the same mentality this year. They’re going to be aggressive. Everything that he’s ever known about team building is you’re willing to move those chips forward, you’re willing to take your run right now.

“If he believes Kirk Cousins gives him the best chance to compete in a really, really tough division … I wouldn’t take anything off the table.”

NFL Salary Cap Adjustment Could Help Broncos Create Enough Space to Sign Vikings’ Kirk Cousins

George Paton, Denver Broncos

GettyGeneral Manager George Paton of the Denver Broncos.

The NFL returned COVID-era deferments, leading to an unexpected additional $30 million in salary cap space for each team, per Pelissero earlier in the day.

The Broncos find themselves $13 million over the salary cap.

That gives them an easier path to drumming up enough space to fit the high-end projections for Cousins’ next contract than previous projections. It could mean $40-plus million for Cousins, though. That is a lofty proposition for a team with several holes to plug this offseason.

The driving force behind the decision could ultimately be Payton’s inclination.

Sean Payton’s Track Record Points to Veteran QB for Broncos in 2024

Kirk Cousins, Denver Broncos

GettyKirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings.

“The track record on Sean Payton is he really has not played with a rookie quarterback a whole lot,” Pelissero said while being clear not to rule it out.

“I believe the only time he’s done that in, what, 15,16 years as a head coach was when everybody got COVID and they had to roll out Ian Book for a game in December with the Saints several years ago. That’s really it. He’s always wanted to have a veteran. I would fully anticipate that they’re looking at everything.”

That includes four-year man, Jarrett Stidham, who Payton believes can be a starter.

But Cousins also fits the mold of what Payton wants from his quarterbacks. He is a quick decision-maker, who rarely makes the wrong choice.