The Colts have a very good team. They currently have no clear option at quarterback. So what will they do?
The problem for the Colts is that there aren’t many great options, as evidenced by Washington’s willingness to trade real assets for Wentz, and to absorb the full amount of his contract for 2022 — more than $28 million. There’s one guy who possibly is available, and who frankly would find himself in a better place to thrive if the deal happens.
He’s under contract with the Vikings through 2022, with a fully-guaranteed salary of $35 million. His cap number ($45 million) means that he can’t be franchise tagged in 2023. (Well, he can be franchise tagged. But it would cost more than $64 million to do so.) Absent an extension, it would become a one-year rental, potentially, for the Colts.
Given the one-year-at-a-time nature of the modern NFL, one year may be enough. With a very good offensive line, which would give Cousins time to get the ball to the open man, a great running back in Jonathan Taylor, and an excellent defense, Cousins could make the Colts surprisingly competitive. The only dip between the two franchises comes at the receiver position, where Cousins would be losing Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
Cousins has shown no inclination to extend his deal with Minnesota. Nor should he. Maybe he would do so for the Colts. That would make him more attractive, and more valuable in trade.
Another possibility would be for the Colts to agree to a low base trade package for 2022, with a kicker if the Colts re-sign Cousins in 2023.
The problem for the Vikings becomes replacing Cousins. Although plenty of Vikings fans are ready to move on by seeing Cousins move out, who’s next for Minnesota? The only clear upgrade for 2022 would come from a trade for Deshaun Watson.
For the same reasons the Colts may be willing to go all in with Cousins for a year, the Vikings may be, too. While it’s not ideal to not have the starting quarterback under contract beyond the current season, the Vikings made this bed when extending the deal.
Although Cousins could make a lot of sense for the Colts, it simply makes no sense for the Vikings to trade him without a clear alternative.