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To absolutely no surprise, Kirk Cousins won’t give Vikings a discount

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New Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell joins Mike Florio to discuss what he'll lessons he'll take from his experience on Sean McVay's staff to his own team and why he's excited to work with Kirk Cousins.

Some news is so obvious that it’s not news. This nugget falls into that category.

Chad Graff of TheAthletic.com reports that conversations in Indianapolis suggest that quarterback Kirk Cousins “isn’t going to offer any sort of hometown discount to stay with the Vikings.”

Of course he isn’t. He’s never taken a discount on any contract he ever has signed. And that’s his right.

He played for Washington in 2016 and 2017 under the franchise tag, refusing to accept long-term offers that didn’t reflect the value he received by cashing out two tags and then becoming a free agent in 2018.

His most shrewd move came in 2020, when Cousins signed an extension that left him with a $35 million fully guaranteed salary in 2022. The $45 million cap number, given that Cousins has twice been tagged before, puts him in line for a 44-percent raise and a one-year $64.8 million franchise-tag salary for 2023, or a $54 million transition-tag salary for 2023.

This means that the Vikings can’t, as a practical matter, keep him from becoming a free agent in 2023. And so Cousins will try to parlay a season with new coach Kevin O’Connell into the kind of campaign that persuades some other team to believe that Cousins deserves a massive payday -- despite his overall lack of playoff appearances or postseason success.

Again, Cousins has every right to work the system for every last dollar. As long as there are teams willing to pay him huge money to lead their franchises to outcomes slightly above mediocrity, it will continue.

The Vikings seem to be content to let Cousins give it one more try, unless they can find a quarterback-desperate team that is willing to absorb his $35 million salary and give the Vikings real value in return. Even then, the Vikings would have to be confident that they have a better alternative. While Cousins isn’t among the best quarterbacks in the NFL, the best quarterbacks in the NFL aren’t readily available.

Unless, of course, Tom Brady decides that his next career stop should be not the team from the area where he grew up, but the team from his mother’s home state.