Vikings Urged to Sign $137 Million Super Bowl QB to Replace Cousins

Kirk Cousins

Getty Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins after a season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Minnesota Vikings must consider bridge quarterback options if Kirk Cousins walks in free agency — and a recent report revealed that Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is poised to join the pool of free agent options available.

The Athletic’s Vic Tarfur reported on February 16 that the Raiders plan to release Garoppolo when the league year starts on March 13 to avoid an $11.25 million roster bonus in his contract.

Tarfur suggested the Vikings sign Garoppolo, who the San Francisco 49ers‘ choice to pair with Kyle Shanahan as a more affordable option than Cousins.

“If they decide not to welcome back Kirk Cousins with $30-plus million a year, may we suggest the poor man’s Cousins? He could spray the ball around in Kevin O’Connell’s offense until a later draft pick is ready to play,” Tarfur wrote in a February 23 article.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s Super Bowl Ceiling

Jimmy Garoppolo

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo on November 27, 2022 versus the Saints.

Despite a down year with the Raiders, Garoppolo has a résumé of effectively running a Shanahan-style offense similar to Kevin O’Connell‘s scheme in Minnesota.

Selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2014 draft, Garoppolo was deemed the successor to Tom Brady. Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers midseason in 2017. He won all five of his starts to close the year, earning a five-year, $137.5 million extension as the final piece of a championship-ready roster.

Garoppolo led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2019 when the offense ranked second in points and fourth in total yardage. He made a second appearance in the NFC Championship game in 2021.

In 2022, Garoppolo was playing some of the best football of his career, averaging 221 yards passing per game and throwing for 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 10 starts. He was bound for his third conference title game appearance before he suffered a season-ending foot injury that thrust Brock Purdy into the starting role in 2022.

Injuries have proven to be the bane of Garoppolo’s staying power in the NFL. In the three seasons Garoppolo played seven or more games in San Francisco, the 49ers fielded top-7 offenses in yardage and ranked in the top-6 in points twice.

But injuries opened the door for Purdy, who was the more affordable option in the final years of Garoppolo’s contract. Garoppolo was released and then signed a three-year, $72 million deal with the Raiders last offseason.

Jimmy Garoppolo Could Cost Half as Much as Vikings QB Kirk Cousins

jimmy garoppolo

GettyJimmy Garoppolo with Kirk Cousins.

The dysfunction in Las Vegas contributed to a down year by Garoppolo as he threw more interceptions (9) than touchdowns (7) for the first time in his career. He was benched amid the coaching change and has since been ousted from the organization looking for a fresh start.

Garoppolo’s $24.25 million average annual value of his contract with the Raiders is likely the ballpark of what he might fetch in free agency. He could come at an added discount considering he is suspended the first two weeks of the season after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy (he didn’t get permission to use a prescribed medication, according to The Athletic).

The debate between Cousins and Garoppolo comes down to whether Cousins is worth the price as a slightly better option to Garoppolo.

ESPN projected Cousins could land a deal worth over $50 million in free agency, which begs the question of whether Cousins is worth twice as much as Garoppolo.

The Vikings also proved their offense could be productive without Cousins, going for over 400 total yards twice with Nick Mullens under center.

Garoppolo could be an ideal buy-low bridge starter who has the ceiling of making a deep postseason run but at the very least keeps his team competitive while the Vikings develop a first-round rookie.