Could Colts make a trade for Kirk Cousins?

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The Colts have a very good team. They currently have no clear option at quarterback. So what will they do?

The first name to emerge was Jimmy Garoppolo. But he’s basically a less athletic, albeit more popular with his teammates, version of Carson Wentz.

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.

Kirk Cousins.

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.

92 responses to “Could Colts make a trade for Kirk Cousins?

  1. Colts don’t have draft picks for Cousins, and the vikings won’t be just given away their starting QB for peanuts. The vikings are content with keeping Kirk this year, and doing a long term restructuring next year – UNLESS a team offers a package too good to turn down. My opinion, is the Steelers would be the team to go after him if anyone.

  2. The unknown honestly sounds better than another year of Cousins. At least for this Vikings fan. Never wanted him in Minnesota to begin with, can’t wait until he’s someone else’s headache.

  3. It would be interesting to see what Kirk could do with a decent organization.

  4. The Vikings will not pursue Watson under any circumstance. They need to replace at least 8 starters (6 on defense and 2 on offense) and have no depth at any position except RB and maybe WR. Trading away a lot of premium draft picks to get Watson would make them unable to rebuild enough to be a contender.

    If they trade Cousins to the Colts, they would likely get the Colts #2 pick this year and a conditional #2 next year which could be upgraded to a #1 if Cousins plays well. The Viking brain trust knows that they cannot compete for a Super Bowl this and may not make the playoffs even with Cousins. If the trade happens, they would bring in a bridge QB for one year such as Bridgewater or Mariota and they would draft one of the QBs in this year’s draft to sit and develop for a year. This would allow them the cap room to rebuild the defense and the interior offensive line.

  5. I hope the Vikings steer clear of Watson. Say what you want about Cousins, but you don’t see his name in the headlines for the dirtbag behavior Watson is accused of.

  6. It makes all the sense in the world for the Vikings to trade Cousins. Not every move in the NFL is made with one year in mind. The Vikings will not be good enough to win it all with Cousins on the books. They have too much dead cap and not enough talent to win. Be like the Seahawks. They realized they can’t win with Russ in 2022 and punted to play in 2023 and beyond. The Vikings should do the same. Sell the expensive QB to the team who’s window is opening, there’s no use keeping him when your window has just closed.

  7. Everyone seems to want to point and laugh at Washington. But the Colts are the ones sitting there with Sam Ehlinger as QB1 right now. Washington may be going to the prom with an imperfect partner, but at least they have a date.

  8. Actually I feel that their QB Sam Ehlinger impressed them enough when he played last season that they are going to go with him as started this year and not waste any more draft picks on chasing another QB.

  9. What’s the difference between Cousins and Wentz? If there is a difference, is it that significant?

  10. Yes of course. They’d have a good chance to win more ‘AFC South participation’ banners.

  11. Everyone thought he’d shine when he left Washington because the Vikings at that time had the better roster. Didn’t happen. Kirk, like water, likes to find a nice even level of about .500. It’s who he is and what he does.

  12. The Colts would be foolish to trade for Cousins, and the Vikings would be foolish not to trade him if they have a willing partner.

  13. I’d take Jimmy G in a second over Wentz because Jimmy G is a great team mate.

  14. Guarantee they don’t trade for Cousins. Wentz was on the outs with Irsay simply because he refused to get vaccinated. Cousins also refuses to get vaccinated. Wentz was a top 12 QB just like Cousins but without the receivers Cousins has in MN. He is not an upgrade over Wentz.

  15. Nick is best when he’s not “the guy”. He certainly knows Reich, would make sense. Given the price tag of qbs right now, not sure Colts can/want to pony up that much…unless it’s Watson, someone who will be there more than a year.

  16. checkyosix says:
    March 10, 2022 at 9:44 am
    Colts don’t have draft picks for Cousins, and the vikings won’t be just given away their starting QB for peanuts.

    _______________________________

    What are you talking about? The Vikings should have to give the Colts a draft pick just take on that salary.

    What’s the going rate for a QB who isn’t good enough to compete for a title and makes a fully guaranteed top 5 salary for 2022?

    The Colts don’t have the draft picks? Every team in the league has a 6th or 7th round draft pick.

    As if the Colts would surrender a first or second AND pay him that money.

    We’re talking about Kirk Cousins here.

  17. Kaepernick is always out there. Probably wouldn’t cost much and no use of draft picks to get him. Stranger things have happened.

  18. checkyosix says:

    March 10, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Colts don’t have draft picks for Cousins, and the vikings won’t be just given away their starting QB for peanuts. The vikings are content with keeping Kirk this year, and doing a long term restructuring next year – UNLESS a team offers a package too good to turn down. My opinion, is the Steelers would be the team to go after him if anyone.
    ——————–
    The vikings arent getting a 1st rd pick for Cousins so yes the colts would be fine on draft picks. That said it doesn’t have to be just picks anyway.

  19. Cousins would be a very good fit for the Colts. The Colts have a much better offensive line than the Vikings. Cousins is excellent in play-action and the Colts run the ball extremely well. If they can’t get Luck back or one of the top 5 or 6 guys than Cousins is a pretty good consolation prize. From the Vikings perspective they would be able to reset their salary cap and reconstruct the overall roster.

  20. You know how it played out, washington/ cousins, looking back obviously it was a disaster… but washington was right not to sink all that gtd money into him as an elite qb, he’s a good qb, top 10 in many areas. I love cousins, I love his game, but he’s not the guy. The place where he would excel the most, I believe is new England. He’s alot better than Mac. Problem with guys like Kyle shan., etc. They always abandon what they are good at when they shouldn’t. Bill would have no issues running the ball 55 times a game, if that’s what it took.

  21. I don’t understand the Colts move. Wentz has potential and by all PFF metrics was not that bad and not the main problem last year. The D was not up to its standards, the O line was not good enough to protect Wentz. Wentz can throw the bowl down the field unlike Jimmy G. Cousins is going nowhere, he’s a top10-12 QB and the Vikings have no other option. Any team with which they will want to trade has all the leverage. What am i missing? Fired by Irsay due to vaccination status?

  22. Well…Kirk Cousins has successfully made the Wilf’s wallet much lighter with very little in return. I guess Jim Irsay wouldn’t mind parting with $45-50 mill and premium draft picks for poor and inconsistent results. Would be such a Jim a thing to do.

  23. “ Actually I feel that their QB Sam Ehlinger impressed them enough when he played last season.”

    When he played last season? You mean his three appearances, three rushes, and zero passes?

  24. Cousins is better than alot of people give him credit for but he has limitations such as no creativity or mobility. In his defense it’s hard to do much when the center and right guard are overrun and the O coordinator is inept. It also needs to be pointed out Cousins wasn’t the one losing games in the last 2 minutes.

  25. With Kirk’s salary and one year left on his contract his trade value is not much and he has shown it is hard to get him to sign a new contract. Vikings best hope for a one-year rental and no ability to tag him is maybe a 3rd and the Vikes pay half of his salary. Cousins will walk away next year.

  26. Colts have two third round picks (maybe a 3 and a 2 conditional) they could give for Cousins.

  27. Long term success in the NFL is most likely if a team is able to draft a QB, develop him, and keep him in a stable system for multiple years. Playing musical chairs with the QB spot is expensive (draft capital spent to get him, and you do not get the financial luxury of a QB on a rookie deal) and does not lend itself to stability within the organization. Can they be more successful if they trade for Cousins and his contract? Sure. Can they win the super bowl? Probably not. If you don’t win it all, who’s to say next year you won’t find yourself in the same position? Looking for an overpaid or broken QB to trade for, eschewing the draft once again?? This philosophy and lack of patience falls squarely on the owner, unfortunately, and seems unlikely to change.

  28. I wanted Russ Wilson or Watson from the start. Cousins is a good QB, but not one that will win a SB, and not worth a 45m cap hit. I’d rather a have a dual threat QB that can do it all.

  29. If Cousins is traded throw in Mond for the year, what’s it going to hurt to play him, why pick up Mariota or Trubitsky and have mediocre season. Just play Mond and maybe get better draft picks in 2023.

  30. Where does this very good offensive line in Indy come from. You do know that the Colts gave up more sacks in 2021 than did the Vikings. The run blocking side of it does favor Indy but not by much. Taylor had a career year but the Vikings also have Cook who missed 4 games last year and still had almost 1200 yards. Brining in Cousins would not be much of an upgrade until Indy gets some legit receivers. That was one of the issues in Philly for Wentz, nobody to throw the ball too. His best receivers in Philly were tight ends, in his final year in Philly his starting wrs were Jalun Reagor and Travis Fulgham and he was sacked 50 times and that was in 12 games. Who would Cousins throw to in Indy Pittman and then who? Hilton looks to be washed up and thats about it. I think last years super bowl showed you can be a very good QB and not win crap without a good team around you. Stafford had a .45 winning percentage with the Lions having only 4 winning seasons in 11 years. And he had Calvin Johnson. The point is Wentz was not as bad as he is being made out to be, you just cant throw a QB into a situation where he runs for his life and has nobody to throw to and expect to win on a regular basis nor is Indy as close as its being made out to be. The line isnt as great as they are made out to be, Taylor wont have the same type of year like last year and they dont have any one to throw to.

  31. You know, I would’ve thought that the Colts would’ve had a plan for replacing Wentz, but apparently not. This all seems to be driven by Irsay. And I get it – Wentz hurt his team by being unvaxed, but they gave up a 1st and a 3rd for him – and bailed on him after one season? It’s just a poor use of resources.

    Is it surprising that the team with five starting QBs in five years is scapegoating Wentz?

    And to everyone bagging on Jimmy G – I don’t know what some of you expect from a QB. See how far Lance gets SF next year. Jimmy G would be an upgrade for a good number of teams.

  32. The idea that Garoppolo and Wentz are similar QBs is such a wild claim. Garoppolo’s averaged 8.4 yards per attempt in his career, Wentz has averaged 6.8.

    Garoppolo’s completed 67.7% of his passes, Wentz only 62.6%.

    Garoppolo’s on-target percentage is 80.2%, Wentz’s is 72.2%.

    (Numbers drawn from Pro Football Reference.) Their games are completely different, and Garoppolo offers a team a better downfield skillset. They both throw interceptions and get injured; that’s where the similarities end. Otherwise, they’re completely different QBs.

  33. JImmy G will be a good fit for the Colts. His thumb and shoulder will be healed, so he will be able to throw deep. The only question is if they can protect Jimmy. They couldn’t protect Wentz.

  34. How does Cousins constantly get attention for more opportunities and crazy money when he’s never done anything to deserve them.

  35. My question is if they do trade Kirk, who are they going to get to replace him? Because someone is going to need to get Justin Jefferson the ball. If they roll with some middle/bottom level QB that struggles to get JJ the ball, we will probably see a situation similar to Odell and the browns and JJ will want out. So all I’m saying is be careful what you wish for.

  36. Who in their right mind would want to deal with him? Cousins was making rookie-type mistakes last season at age 33. His biggest mistake was leaving Washington.

  37. Cousins has not lived up to expectations but expectations were for him to be the savior.
    He’s a serviceable NFL QB but not a game-changer. He’s not worth 45 million for sure but this is the bed the Wilf’s made. Should have stayed with Keenum and spent more money on the rest of the team. That was a knee-jerk Zimmer/Spielman decision after the Philly NFC title game loss. Based on current options, Cousins may be the best option for 2022. O’Connell needs to work on pushing Captain Kirk to take more risks and quit checking down. I would rather see Kirk have 12-15 interceptions because he was taking risks vs checking down all the time and padding his stats late in games when it’s too late.

  38. A quarterback who is not on this season’s carousel, but should be, is Baker Mayfield. Mayfield’s back-up is Case Keenum, who, as a Browns’ fan, I consider to be Mayfield’s equal. Mayfield is in the last year of his rookie contract and no one around Cleveland thinks he will be extended. He could be — should be, if you ask me — shipped to Seattle or Carolina or Houston or, yes, Indianapolis for, oh, a second, a third and a player. He’s a clear upgrade from Carson Wentz. Who isn’t? The Colts have a terrific win-now roster, so somebody’s coming in. Why not Mayfield?

  39. If they roll with some middle/bottom level QB that struggles to get JJ the ball, we will probably see a situation similar to Odell and the browns and JJ will want out.

    You mean a situation like Diggs and Kirk? If they trade Kirk, they let Mond compete with some middle of the road QB, knowing it will be to take a step back and go after a better prospect in 2023 (Young/Stroud) and finally take a step forward.

  40. Every time I read “Watson to MN” I cringe. I’m trusting that the Vikings’ new brain trusts are not at all interested in bringing in that load of stinking baggage.

  41. Keeping Cousins on the Vikings for 22′ guarantees a losing season. With that cap hit, no way they can field a competitive team. Basic math.

  42. 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.
    _______________

    They do have a clear alternative — Not Cousins. I don’t understand people who think the only way you could trade Cousins is if you have a better QB to replace him. I hate to break the news to you, but the Vikings aren’t going to win the Super Bowl in 2022 regardless of who the quarterback is. Why bring Cousins back for one more year when you can get started on the rebuilding now? Draft a rookie you like this year or next year and bring in a veteran like Bridgewater or Mariota to throw the ball to people until the new guy is ready. Then you’ll have cap space and draft picks to start building the roster.

    If you don’t believe me, look at the four years before Cousins got here compared to the four years Cousins has played. Bridgewater, Bradford, and Keenum didn’t put up the same pretty stats but they won a lot more games.

  43. Not saying a trade should happen, but … with the depth the Colts have on the OL and the lack of it the Vikings have; the Colts could pull off the trade for Cousins, without extending Cousins in 2022, if they gave the Vikings a mid-round pick and one of their OL-men in 2022, and then add that conditional higher round pick in 2023 if Cousins performs well and he signs a new contract to play for the Colts in 2023 and beyond. The Vikings could get by with Kellen Mond for a year and draft a QB in 2022 with their #12 pick. And they could bring in a FA QB for one year like Teddy Bridgewater (who wouldn’t want to see Teddy come home?!), Andy Dalton, or Colt McCoy.

  44. He’s maxed out his talent you gotta give him credit for that but his decision making on and off the field are below average being an anti-vaccer is the # 1 proof of that.

  45. Bridgewater is more of a check-down QB than Cousins! I love Teddy but no way do I want to see him back here. Mariota is a gimmick-style QB who is not accurate. Keenum was good in Shurmur’s offense but on the wrong side of the hill. I wouldn’t be upset if he were the QB but we need to keep Cousins as the stopgap because he will keep JJ happy in 2022. It’s too bad that Malik Willis had such a good combine. Would have been great to get him in the 2nd round but he will replace Russ in Seattle.

  46. The issue here is that Cousins’ selfishness and greed likely will give the Vikings little choice. If they keep him without an extension, the have to alter an already depleted defensive side roster to do so, which will result in another mediocre season. They can try to extend, but Cousins is apparently seeking $40M/yr, making future roster development difficult and then a string of mediocre seasons. The only reasonable way he stays is to extend at $30-35M/yr, and its more likely the state of WI sets the state color as purple before that happens.

  47. Ballard isn’t going to make the same mistake twice.

    Garoppolo is the target in Indy. They want proven leadership. Someone who can win in the playoffs.

  48. “Move on or move out.” That is a phrase I have not heard in a long time. A long time.

  49. The way I see it, the Colts don’t need an every-week superstar, they need someone who will rise to the occasion when the chips are down and they’re in the playoffs. That’s what’s been missing for them.

    I think that, among all the QBs they may be able to get, it *is* Foles or Garoppolo (or both!). Say what you will about their downsides, they have done well when the pressure is on, and they can be the x-factor both as teammates and as players on the field.

    Guys like Watson and Cousins are what they’ve already had – empty stats but no postseason success. Why break the bank for the same old thing? They just traded away that kind of player with Wentz. They need someone who can be the heart of a team.

  50. I still think in the right situation (like the 49ers) Cousins could be very successful in the NFL. Unfortunately that requires a good O Line and defense neither of which the Vikings have. Cousins contract makes it very difficult to fix either so in that respect I can understand letting him go. On the other hand I’d like to see what the new coaching staff can do with him first. The one thing I don’t want to see is him getting a contract extension right now.

  51. I like teams that don’t have to trade their QB because they foolishly overpayed him.

  52. Colts could get Foles for that 3rd round pick they got from Washington. He knows Reich and vice versa.

  53. There you go. Anybody wishing for Cousins to leave just doesn’t get that there currently are NO better options out there.
    And PLEASE do not suggest Kellen 165 pound Mond.
    “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.”

  54. I can’t believe people are still taking about Nick Foles. He’s 3-9 since leaving Philadelphia and has never started more than 11 games in a season. He’s a nice backup quarterback who had a nice playoff run four years ago. No one should be looking at him as a starting quarterback.

  55. There are a few QBs who could fit. But more importantly, Indy needs pass catchers. Two of Christian Kirk, Allen Robinson, Mike Williams, and DJ Chark or one plus a TE like Hayden Hurst or Zack Ertz will do more for the offense than replacing Wentz with another average QB. They still need a better QB than Ehlinger though.

  56. He’s one of the few anti-vaccer QB for that reason alone i don’t like him but to the talent part he is an above average QB who has had some good days but bottom line he is not a difference maker .

  57. If the Vikings cut Cousins wouldn’t they be able to recoup some of his salary of another team signed him this year? I think if a team signed him they’d probably have to pay him 15-20 million. I dont think his ego will allow him to play on the cheap.

  58. There are no special QB’s in this draft Willis is a great guy and a good QB but because of his lack of experience check back in 2- 3 years when he’d be ready to start .
    2023 draft has two excellent QB’s .

  59. Essentially, the underlying solution here for Minny is to include Cousins for Watson. They get a QB back, signed long term.

    Indy is screwed.

  60. “checkyosix says:
    March 10, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Colts don’t have draft picks for Cousins, and the vikings won’t be just given away their starting QB for peanuts. The vikings are content with keeping Kirk this year, and doing a long term restructuring next year – UNLESS a team offers a package too good to turn down. My opinion, is the Steelers would be the team to go after him if anyone.”

    ——————————————————————–

    Cousins is an unrestricted free agent after this season. So not only will it not be a restructure, they’ll be bidding against the rest of the league if they want to keep him. And if they are unsuccessful, all they get is a comp pick at the bottom of the third round. To me if I’m the Vikings GM (ewww), if I want to keep him I extend him before the season starts to get rid of his $45M cap hit this year, or I trade him this off-season for what I can this offseason and use the pick(s) and cap space for a full rebuild. Either way, they’re looking at somewhere between second and fourth in maybe the weakest division in football.

  61. I understand why the Colts got rid of Wentz, but they left themselves in limbo at QB with no good options available given that they have little to trade. Seems to me that holding onto Wentz for another year would have been more prudent, but my guess is that Irsay insisted that they dump him.

  62. Again, Cousins looks like the best of a pathetic bunch of horrible Remaining QBS after Rodgers and Wilson have been taken.

    But this is how Cousins makes a living, having desperate teams think he will get them somewhere.

  63. psubeerman21 says:
    March 10, 2022 at 10:53 am
    Long term success in the NFL is most likely if a team is able to draft a QB, develop him, and keep him in a stable system for multiple years. Playing musical chairs with the QB spot is expensive (draft capital spent to get him, and you do not get the financial luxury of a QB on a rookie deal) and does not lend itself to stability within the organization. Can they be more successful if they trade for Cousins and his contract? Sure. Can they win the super bowl? Probably not. If you don’t win it all, who’s to say next year you won’t find yourself in the same position? Looking for an overpaid or broken QB to trade for, eschewing the draft once again?? This philosophy and lack of patience falls squarely on the owner, unfortunately, and seems unlikely to change.————————————————————————

    Great point. Other than the fact that the last 2 Super Bowls have been won using the exact opposite formula. Good take….

  64. kennystablerisalive says:
    March 10, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    I understand why the Colts got rid of Wentz, but they left themselves in limbo at QB with no good options available given that they have little to trade. Seems to me that holding onto Wentz for another year would have been more prudent, but my guess is that Irsay insisted that they dump him.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    You are spot on. Irsay wanted him gone to the point that was going to happen even without a replacement plan in place. Washington offered the most so the deal was made.

  65. Cousins will be signing with the Lions next year. He’s in the Sam Bradford category. Got way overpaid due to specific circumstances. Had talent, never did squat. Jimmy G has a quicker release, is more athletic, and more accurate. He’d definitely do more with the Vikings offense, IMHO.

  66. There is no market for cousins he cannot possibly play up to his contract. He is a lifetime 500 qb in his mid 30’s. Those numbers don’t lie I watched every game as a Vikings fan and he never shocked anyone. The Vikings were lucky to split with Detroit. Tom Brady he ain’t

  67. A bunch of Vikings fans are now realizing the value of cousins throughout the league is 0

  68. You could put Joe Montana in his prime in Minnesota and they would still be a 500 team. They have no defense

  69. We’d be better off suffering thru this season with our 6th rd draft pick Ehlinger, than giving up the farm for either: 1) Jimmy G (marginal upgrade over Wentz)
    2) Cousins (decent player, just don’t want to give up a bunch for him)

  70. To those who think the Vikings defense was the reason Kirk is a lifetime 500 qb should remember we went to the NFC championship the year before he arrived with the same defense he inherited as well as excellent skill position talent. He just doesn’t have it man

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