Evaluating the possible landing spots for Kirk Cousins in 2018
Cousins has found success playing QB in Washington the last three seasons. He knows head coach Jay Gruden's offense inside and out, and Gruden knows the strengths and weaknesses of his quarterback.
In addition, he knows he has Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses in front of him, no doubt a big reason he's become such a durable player. The 'Skins need reinforcements at the skill positions, sure, but there's a lot to like about staying in D.C.
San Francisco 49ers
It seemed that Washington would be forced to use an unprecedented third straight franchise tag on Cousins to keep their QB from going to the West Coast to play for Kyle Shanahan.
But the Niners made another move, acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots at the trade deadline in October. Tom Brady's former backup has been great in San Francisco ever since.
Crazy things could happen, but 49ers GM John Lynch would be nuts to let Garoppolo go now. He will be the quarterback in San Fran going forward.
Convenient to argue, and certainly a good team, but Ben Roethlisberger remains the QB in Black and Gold. Could he retire? Sure, but threw for 28 TDs in 2017 he's due more than $12 million in 2018.
Also, the Steelers are known for drafting and developing, not paying free agents.
The Broncos definitely need a quarterback, but only have about $29 million under the salary cap currently for 2018. John Elway could rearrange some contracts, or cut some players, but for Kirk Cousins to work in Denver it would probably mean that the franchise would lose some stud defensive players.
And what has made the Broncos so good in the last few seasons? A tremendous defense.
The Jaguars could be a serious contender for Cousins. Blake Bortles is under contract for 2018, but that money is guaranteed for injury only. If the Jags wanted to, they could move on from Bortles with no cap hit if it happens before June.
What could get tricky? Bortles played well in the second half of 2017; Cousins did not. Further, Bortles won 10 games with Jacksonville in 2017. Would the organization really elect to move on from the homegrown Bortles and bring Cousins in on a big contract? It's not looking likely after the most recent comments from owner Shad Khan.
38-year-old Carson Palmer played in just seven games in 2017 and retired just after New Years. For Kirk Cousins, however, does going to Arizona in what looks like a rebuild situation offer more upside than staying with the Redskins?
The Cards will be hiring a new head coach and face the real possibility of losing franchise receiver Larry Fitzgerald to retirement.
New York Giants
Eli Manning is under contract for 2018 and will likely cost the Giants at least $12 million on the cap. On top of that, New York will pick No. 2 overall in the NFL Draft.
If the Giants, with a new coach and GM, want a new quarterback, it makes much more sense they would want to draft somebody than to pay Kirk Cousins significantly more money.
New York Jets
Much more cap space than the Giants, and no incumbent QB in place, but the Jets pick 6th overall. Is Kirk Cousins enough to change their fortunes? Or does it make more sense to draft and develop?
Further, Cousins has made clear money is not his only driver. Would playing for the Jets be the right fit? Maybe. Maybe not.
The Browns have a ton of cap space and the Nos. 1 and 4 pick in the 2018 draft. Still, it seems more likely Cleveland would want to draft a QB, not to mention, would Cousins want to go to the Browns? They've won one of their last 32 games, after all.