Cousins is lined up to be a top pick in the open market

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison, Wikipedia

Kirk Cousins will be quite the hot commodity during this year’s NFL free agency. It’s not often that a young Pro Bowl quarterback with no injury concerns hits the open market. Many squads are constantly looking for their next franchise quarterback, and to be able to snag one without having to waste a draft pick can pay some huge dividends.

Cousins is an interesting case as his roller coaster career is set to hit another bump.

In 2012, the Washington Redskins selected Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the NFL draft. This wasn’t a relevant storyline since they had already used the second overall pick to get college superstar Robert Griffin III. Cousins assumed his role as backup quarterback during his rookie year, while Griffin ended up winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Eventually, injuries and poor awareness caught up to Griffin III and in 2015, head coach Jay Gruden handed the keys over to Cousins. He made the most of his opportunities by making the Pro Bowl and guiding Washington to an improbable division championship. Cousins was set to become a free agent after this season, but Washington franchise tagged him after they couldn’t work out a deal, totalling nearly $20 million. After another productive season in 2016, Cousins again received the franchise tag, this time worth $25 million.

The writing on the wall was that Cousins, his agents and the Redskins could not agree on a long-term deal. After his 2017 campaign, Washington pulled the trigger, and instead of locking up Cousins, they traded for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. It was clear that they were moving on from their franchise guy.

There are many teams in the league that pose as intriguing spots for Cousins, both for roster and salary purposes. Reportedly, the New York Jets would be willing to break the bank for Cousins, according to CBS Sports. New York’s view makes sense since the team hasn’t had a reliable starter since Chad Pennington.

They’re interested in finding someone to oversee the position for the next few years, not a replacement for the moment. Cousins could help New York out if he plays to the best of his abilities. They were a competitive team with a depleted roster, so an upgrade at quarterback would help a lot.

It seems that the Cleveland Browns are always in search for a quarterback, and Cousins is an intriguing option for them. With targets like Josh Gordon, David Njoku and receiving-back Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland could be a breakout offense next season.

Not only could productive weapons be available, but the Browns also have a great core on the offensive line, something he had trouble last season with Washington. Cleveland would also pay top dollar for Cousins because of their large sum of cap space.

Carson Palmer has officially played his last season with the Arizona Cardinals and because of this, the team will have to find another started not named Drew Stanton or Blaine Gabbert. Cousins would be potentially going to another intriguing spot in Arizona mainly because of two specific players, Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson.

When healthy, Johnson is arguably the best running back in the league, and Fitzgerald has been the definition of a consistent pass catcher over the course of his career. Arizona also provides a smaller sports market that could give Cousins some comfortability.

Wherever Cousins chooses to go, he’ll be set to get a large sum of money. Whether this financial success translates to actual success on the field will remain to be seen for the 2018 NFL season.