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Yes, the 49ers and Rams could both pursue Kirk Cousins next year

It’s slow right now. Which means that every media outlet covering the NFL is looking for content. Us included.

Given that so many other media outlets covering the NFL have seized on something I said last week on Rich Eisen’s show, we might as well write something about it, too.

At some point during the discussion from last Wednesday, I blurted out the possibility that, in March 2024, the 49ers and Rams will end up in a tug of war for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. I know that, on the surface, it sounds crazy. But it could still happen.

For starters, the Vikings have no way to keep Cousins from becoming an unrestricted free agent after the coming season, unless they sign him to a new deal. They can’t use the franchise tag. If Cousins wants to hit the market after six years in Minnesota (where he signed after six years in Washington), he will.

So where will he go? In 2017, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t even evaluate Patrick Mahomes because Shanahan believed he’d be signing Cousins a year later. Since then, the 49ers have had a revolving door of quarterbacks, due in large part to none of them being able to stay healthy.

Cousins always stays healthy. He never gets hurt. And if the 49ers had signed him in 2018, they’d likely have one or two more Super Bowl trophies in the case, given the quality of the rest of the team. (Stop laughing. They would.)

Shanahan’s interest in Cousins for 2024 will hinge heavily on whether Brock Purdy gets healthy, and whether he stays healthy. If he gets injured again, Shanahan could decide to roll the dice on Cousins next year.

The other wild card is the Rams. Although Matthew Stafford is officially their guy for 2023, there were rumblings that the Rams were hoping for a trade offer, possibly from the Jets if the Aaron Rodgers deal had fallen through. After another year of Stafford holding his aging body together, while also potentially getting injured at some point during the 2023 season, coach Sean McVay — who like Shanahan worked with Cousins in D.C. — could decide to make a play for Cousins. Especially if McVay thinks Shanahan will finally try to get Cousins.

Thus the potential tug of war, with Cousins caught between a couple of former Washington assistants turned NFC West rivals, and once again cashing in.

It’s really not a controversial theory. It’s actually sort of obvious.

But, again, it’s slow now. So have at it. Of course, if it ever comes to pass next year, not many of you will remember that it was a slow-time hypothesis from late June of 2023.