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Patrick Mahomes: Kirk Cousins is the most underrated quarterback in the league

If you didn’t get enough of the eight-episode Quarterback series, there’s more. It’s only eight minutes, but it’s better than nothing.

A video emerged on Thursday of a joint interview from the subjects of the show. It apparently was filmed at the time of the premiere — unless each of them wore the exact same clothes they wore to the premiere for the extra session.

Various topics were addressed by Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota. Roughly five minutes in, the question of the most underrated quarterback in the NFL was addressed.

Mahomes pointed at Cousins. “I think this guy right here,” Mahomes said. “I mean, if you look at Kirk over here, man. Wins every year. Puts up great stats. Did it in Washington. Does it in Minnesota. Talk to any other quarterbacks in the league, and they’re gonna say the same thing.”

“I’d agree with that,” Mariota said. “I’ve been in a few systems and [with] a few coaches. And a lot of the tape that we’d watch was of Kirk. A guy consistently, year in and year out, continues to prove why he is one of the top quarterbacks in the league.”

Kirk loved it. “Any time you can be complimented by your peers,” he said, “it beats any compliment coming from anybody else in your life.”

But is Cousins really underrated? He’s regarded as a fringe top-10 quarterback. Most would say the following players are better than him: Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert, and Deshaun Watson (if he can play like he did in 2020). That’s nine. In the same cut as Kirk are Matthew Stafford, Daniel Jones (if last year wasn’t a fluke), Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson (if last year was a fluke), and maybe Ryan Tannehill.

And how can Cousins be regarded as underrated when he has four career playoff appearances and only one postseason win? Mahomes has been a starter for five years, and he’s been to the AFC Championship every single year.

Two factors hold Cousins out of the top 10: (1) chronic inability to step up in big spots; and (2) lack of mobility/creativity to make chicken salad when the play that was called doesn’t work.

Also, based on what we learned about Mahomes in the Quarterback series, there’s another potential element at play here. Week Five. Chiefs at Vikings. Mahomes is smart enough to say nothing that will make Cousins circle that game even more aggressively than he already has. Look at how Mahomes worked pass rushers in the Quarterback series. He admitted that he routinely compliments them on their efforts because he wants them to like him, so that they won’t be inclined to try to hit him harder than they do.

That same mindset applies here. Mahomes is working Cousins, knowing that in an ultra-competitive AFC, it’s critical for the Chiefs to go to Minnesota and find a way to win.

If Kirk likes Mahomes, maybe Kirk won’t make an exception to his every-Tuesday-off approach when the Chiefs game is approaching — and when Mahomes is spending a big chunk of his own day off preparing to go beat Cousins.

Regardless, Cousins is not underrated. He’s accurately rated. Until he makes an appearance in an NFC Championship game, that accurate rating won’t change.