Denver never made Kirk Cousins an offer

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After the dust settled on the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, his agent listed the teams that swung a sledgehammer. The Broncos weren’t one of them.

That’s the story as told by Mike McCartney to Peter King of SI.com. McCartney ran, as a practical matter, a silent auction for Cousins, with no guarantee that any offer made would result in a visit. The Vikings, Jets, and Cardinals ultimately put packages on the table.

Six years after teams lined up out the door for a chance to be officially rejected by an aging and impaired Peyton Manning, only three came to the table for the first under-30-and-fully-healthy franchise quarterback to hit free agency, ever. That’s a direct product of the fact that plenty of other options existed in free agency, trade, and the draft to address quarterback needs.

In most years, there aren’t enough bad quarterbacks to go around. This year, there were more quarterbacks (good, bad, or otherwise) than places to put them.

So the Broncos, opting not to overpay for Cousins and not to lose out on another option that came much more cheaply, passed on Cousins and pushed for Case Keenum.

Before the process began, McCartney identified seven teams that could potentially make a push for Cousins: the Vikings, Cardinals, Jets, Broncos, Bills, Browns, and the Dolphins. Yes, the Dolphins. Proving yet again that, no matter how strongly the coaching staff supports Ryan Tannehill, not many outside the building are willing to buy it.

In the grand scheme of things, not many teams came to the table for Cousins. There were still enough to make Cousins the highest paid player in NFL history.

27 responses to “Denver never made Kirk Cousins an offer

  1. What makes keenum great is his ability to evade pressure in the pocket, his ability to stay in the pocket, and his almost unmatched ability to step up in the pocket as pressure is applied…I saw this guy step into throws as lineman were barreling down towards him. He doesn’t have the strongest arm but he seems to establish good timing with receivers.

    What makes keenum not so good are his many floater passes- those throws over 15 yards that tend to sail and sit high in the sky, and they are easy to pick off.

    The Broncos had been recruiting cousins since they played each other this season. this idea they wanted keenum all along is a flat lie. Keenum is good enough to take them to the playoffs. It will be interesting if Denver drafts a quarterback and basically tells keenum you’re out of here after this year. Keenum is young and can be franchise quarterback. His two year deal suggests Denver is using him as a placeholder for their future quarterback to be drafted.

  2. Who are the so called good QB’s sinceBrees was never leaving the Saints. A broken down overpaid under achieving Bradford? Case Keenum a one year under sized wonder with an average arm who’s own team wanted too get rid of? Cousins a vastly over paid QB with a career losing record of 26-30 whose contract will destroy the Vikings chances of winning on a consistent basis. And they get to pay him again in a couple of years. And the rest like McCown, Fitzpatrick, Cutler are career backups even if they have been starters at points in their career. It was the usual suspects and not anyone close to the caliber of Peyton Manning.

  3. Denver’s hoped for future franchise QB won’t be on the roster until the first day of this years draft.
    This is not a very good team right now. And they’re not going anywhere with the roster currently in place. No matter who is under center. Keenum may very well keep them competitive enough to keep butts in the seats until the new guy develops. By all appearances, that’s what he wanted. It will take a couple years but Elway will have them competing at a high level in short order.
    Made no sense at all to make a run at 84 mil over 3 years when he’ll most likely get the same basic results for a fraction of the cost over the same time span.

  4. .
    Elway didn’t have the cash available to bid in the high stakes Cousin’s auction. So, he got Keenum at a considerably lower price. Now the QB position is stabilized and the Broncos fans are off Elway’s back, at least temporarily. He couldn’t afford to strike out on Cousins while allowing Keenum to slip through his heads at the same time.
    .

  5. Denver didn’t make an offer because they didn’t have sufficient cap room to make the deal work for them.

    MN still has more cap $$$’s available then Denver after adding Cousins than Denver does after adding Keenum.

  6. Goes to prove it only takes one sucker. Highest paid player in history should suggest that he is the #1 person at his position today. He is nowhere near the #1 player at his position today. His numbers are very similar to Tannehill’s who also threw for 4000 yards a season over three seasons and a 62.7% Comp% – and went about 8-8 over that span.

  7. Keenum led the Vikings to a very respectable record. He bailed out the defense against New Orleans and in return the defense opened the floodgates on him against the Eagles. Zimmer refused to give the guy any credibility, by not calling him the designated starter………..while he was starting! Keenum finished with a QBR of 98 and a TD-to-INT ratio of 3:1. Pretty good. In fact, the Vikings have enjoyed Pro-Bowl caliber play from their quarterbacks for three straight seasons. What is the upgrade from that?

    Do they really expect to do better by throwing money at a guy that hasn’t proven anything? It looks to me that the Vikings have adopted Dan Snyder’s prolific methodology for building winners. In this case, going all-in could very well mean the heads of the coach and the GM are “all-in” the guillotine, waiting for the blade to drop.

    Time will tell, but there certainly isn’t anything tangible to brag about. Not yet.

  8. The Broncos are too smart. The Vikings and Cousins were a perfect match. Cousins never won a post season game and the “ringless Vikings” never won a Super Bowl!

  9. stellarperformance says:

    March 19, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Keenum led the Vikings to a very respectable record. He bailed out the defense against New Orleans and in return the defense opened the floodgates on him against the Eagles. Zimmer refused to give the guy any credibility, by not calling him the designated starter………..while he was starting! Keenum finished with a QBR of 98 and a TD-to-INT ratio of 3:1. Pretty good. In fact, the Vikings have enjoyed Pro-Bowl caliber play from their quarterbacks for three straight seasons. What is the upgrade from that?

    ———-

    The Upgrade is stability. Bradford gets hurt, Teddy got hurt, Case Keenum didn’t get hurt, but he has a history of not performing this well. The fear is he is a flash in the pan with his floating passes, inaccurate throws sometimes. He played very well, but many fans fear it won’t happen again. Cousin’s hasn’t won a playoff game, but he has also been on far worse teams. Cousin’s posses more skills like a stronger arm, more accurate. Like you said, the Vikings have had pro bowl QB play last three season’s. I think the upgrade is that Cousin’s who stays healthy, will do it three seasons. Cousin’s probably won’t do much better than Keenum did last year, it’s hard to do much better than 13-3. But if he can do the same for three years that’s the upgrade. Stability.

  10. Denver was smart for not paying that much for a slightly above average QB.

    Theyre more than 1 piece away from getting back to the big game. If they were primed and ready to go back this year, I would argue the point…but their OL is terrible. Their defense has dropped off since the SB run.

    Paying a QB that much money would have forced them to cut corners in a lot of other places. Take that extra money, and spread it around while you have it. Keep your core guys, and see what Keenum can do. He is at least average. And now he has 2 very good receivers to play with.

    I just hope that OL can keep him upright.

  11. stellarperformance says:

    Keenum led the Vikings to a very respectable record. He bailed out the defense against New Orleans and in return the defense opened the floodgates on him against the Eagles.
    ######

    Did you forget about the Keenum INT thrown on first down at the MN 25. That’s what got the Saints back into the game. Without that INT, there is no need for late game drama.

  12. Cousin bashers obviously know very little about football. He was top 10 in every category in his career except for wins. His team in Washington vs winning teams gave up an average of 30 points. It’s amazing he won as much as he did. When Green Bay averages giving up 30 points a game this year (and they will with that pathetic defense), watch how Erin Rodgers struggles to keep up. The Vikings give up, under Zimmer, 18 points a game…18 POINTS! Cousins will win with Vikings, A LOT. #DYNASTY

  13. The NFL is in a sad state if Kirk Cousins is considered a “franchise quarterback”. If a QB is a franchise QB then the team that’s going to pay the most for him is the franchise he represents. Since they traded for someone else and happily let him walk he’s just a quarterback.

    Then again this is the same media who calls Carson Wentz a franchise QB who’s only played about 15 minutes of football in his NFL career and was on the sidelines when a journeyman who was out of the league the year prior won his team a superbowl.

    A franchise coach can easily fool people into giving credit to an average QB who can follow directions well.

  14. OMG so glad Denver didn’t make Cousins the highest paid QB in the league when he may not even break the top ten next year. I have no idea why the Vikings didn’t keep Keenum but have to thank them twice. Once for signing Cousins and twice for giving Denver Keenum. And the Vikings are a GREAT team but they made a horrible decision in my opinion. Denver is going to be GREAT for a long time because they are a bit smarter with their money!!! I like Cousins but I would never put “ALL” my money in his pocket!!!

  15. Six years after teams lined up out the door for a chance to be officially rejected by an aging and impaired Peyton Manning, only three came to the table for the first under-30-and-fully-healthy franchise quarterback to hit free agency, ever.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    OK, you need to actually define what a franchise QB is if you are going to throw a statement like that out there. Is it a QB that puts up top 10 stats? Has won a lot of games? Is paid a high salary? Has “potential”? Does a franchise QB have to also qualify as elite? Reporters love throwing around terms and allowing users to just insert their own meaning. What criteria did you use in making that assertion? (Other than stimulating clicks)

  16. stellarperformance says:
    March 19, 2018 at 7:25 am

    In fact, the Vikings have enjoyed Pro-Bowl caliber play from their quarterbacks for three straight seasons. What is the upgrade from that?
    ________

    Well, I guess an upgrade would actually be a quarterback who makes the Pro Bowl. All that “Pro-Bowl caliber play” you keep talking about didn’t actually result in Pro Bowl berths, except for Bridgewater in 2015 as an injury replacement.

  17. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    March 19, 2018 at 12:29 pm
    Well, I guess an upgrade would actually be a quarterback who makes the Pro Bowl. All that “Pro-Bowl caliber play” you keep talking about didn’t actually result in Pro Bowl berths, except for Bridgewater in 2015 as an injury replacement.
    //////////////////////////////////////

    Bradford tore it up for the Vikings. So did Keenum. Bridgewater did OK. The Vikings will be hard pressed with Cousins to keep up with the three year average from those guys.

  18. Even if Keenum does “average”, it will be an upgrade from the three practice squad level QB’s from the last two years. Now it’s Keenum, Lynch (bust), and Kelly (unknown). Broncos will draft one of the top four QB’s in the draft.

  19. stellarperformance says:
    March 19, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Bradford tore it up for the Vikings. So did Keenum. Bridgewater did OK. The Vikings will be hard pressed with Cousins to keep up with the three year average from those guys.
    __________

    That 3-year average is 68.5% completions, 3,679 yards, 7.25 YPA, 19.7 TDs, and 7.0 INTs for a 96.6 rating.

    Cousins’ 3-year average is 67% completions, 4,329 yards, 7.80 YPA, 27 TDs, and 12 INTs for a 97.5 rating.

    I don’t know why people expect Cousins’ numbers to decrease so dramatically now that he’s in the Vikings’ QB-friendly system.

  20. The reality is the Broncos pretty much looked at their cap space, their high draft order and made a smart decision that would benefit their current situation. Why alienate Keenum as your new QB if they knew they’d lose a bidding war.

  21. The Broncos wanted Cousin’s but didn’t have the cap space for it. That simple. The players wanted him. They wanted him! They knew they weren’t going to get him so they didn’t even go through the motions.

    People know nothing about football if they consider Cousin’s a bad QB, or even average. He is in the top 10 in almost every category except for wins. Is Drew Brees a bad QB? Because he had a losing record when he left the Chargers? It’s a similar situation. Good stats for Cousin’s, but not the wins due to being on bad teams.

  22. Cousins has personal stats. But he has a whole lot of red flags to go with them. I mean he plays in a very very very QB friendly system that easily yields passing yards and high completion percentages. The problem is Kirk has not performed well against teams with a winning record and that has to be a concern I would think. He also has struggled in the red zone-another red flag. The Skins had to scheme a lot of plays in the red zone to even get TD’s. Is he a product of a system and his real flaws are exposed against better playing defenses and teams. That is the definition of a regular season QB.

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