Patriots Predicted to Land ‘Proven’ 4-Time Pro Bowl QB in Free Agency

New coach Jerod Mayo could jumpstart a rebuild by signing Kirk Cousins as the next Patriots quarterback.

Getty New coach Jerod Mayo could jumpstart a rebuild by signing Kirk Cousins as the next Patriots quarterback.

What better way to send a signal that things will be different from now on than signing a new Patriots quarterback in free agency? And not just any quarterback, but the best and most expensive quarterback on the market? That would certainly show the rest of the NFL and Patriots fans that this team is determined to do things differently now that Bill Belichick is gone.

That’s the thinking at CBS Sports, which is predicting the Patriots will shell out for Vikings star quarterback Kirk Cousins, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, in what it calls its, “2024 NFL Free Agency Mock Draft.”

Here’s what analyst Cody Benjamin wrote: “Hold onto your hats. While drafting a QB feels more likely (and smarter), who’s to say Jerod Mayo, Robert Kraft and Co. wouldn’t prefer a more proven technician, if given the chance to ‘burn some cash‘ on Cousins? In reality, of course, Cousins might be hesitant to join such a rebuilding organization, but New England’s still got a historic reputation and reliable defense.”

Kirk Cousins  an Expensive Option as Patriots Quarterback

Now, there are some caveats to the possibility of getting Cousins to the Patriots. Benjamin highlights one of them: Cousins is 36 and likely looking to win as soon as possible. The Patriots have huge holes just about everywhere in the offense, from the line to the wide receivers, to the tight ends and running backs.

But signing Cousins would free up New England to draft star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. with the third overall pick, and if the Patriots keep their own players in place—free-agents tackle Mike Onwenu and tight end Hunter Henry in particular—then revamping the offense won’t be as imposing as it initially looks. And there is a good defense in place.

It won’t be cheap. Cousins is projected by Pro Football Focus to get a two-year, $60 million contract.

At Spotrac, Cousins is projected to reap a three-year, $118 million deal. But the Patriots could have as much as $90 million in cap space if they, as expected, release cornerback J.C. Jackson. They can afford Cousins, and the other teams likely in the market for him—teams like the Falcons, Raiders and Giants—are not exactly primed for the Super Bowl themselves.

Achilles Tear a Big Concern

Still, Cousins is a risk. He only played eight games last year before tearing his Achilles tendon, a concerning injury for a player his age. They were eight very impressive games, playing for a team many assumed would be heading into rebuilding mode. Minnesota went 4-4 with Cousins, and he threw for an average of 291.4 yards with a QB rating of 103.8, third in the NFL.

But he will enter free agency as the No. 2 overall free agent in Pro Football Focus’ rankings, and easily the top quarterback on the market. It is a long way from Cousins at No.2 on the rankings to Ryan Tannehill, the second quarterback on the list, who comes in at No. 68 overall.

As PFF noted on Cousins: “An ill-timed torn Achilles derailed another strong season from Cousins, and he looked set to have a host of suitors in free agency, as he did back in 2018. Cousins still has the requisite arm strength to throw to all levels of the field and has been as accurate as ever in recent seasons.”


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