The Falcons Reward Kirk Cousins With $180 Million Contract In An All-In Move To Be NFC Contenders

Kirk Cousins Vikings

The biggest domino of this year’s NFL free agency has fallen, now that Kirk Cousins has officially jumped ship with the Minnesota Vikings in favor of the Atlanta Falcons to the tune of $180 million over four years. Despite Cousins tearing his Achilles in the middle of last season, Atlanta is going all-in on the veteran signal-caller who turns 36 in August.

Atlanta could’ve opted to trade up from the eighth overall pick in the draft to try to acquire one of the top rookies from what’s perceived to be an excellent 2024 QB class. Instead, they roll the dice on Cousins, who has multiple ties to the Falcons’ new coaching staff led by Raheem Morris. Not to mention, Cousins’ wife hails from the Atlanta area.

In a wide-open NFC South division, there’s no question the Falcons just improved their chances by a lot to seize the crown and host a playoff game. The reigning South champion Buccaneers just extended Baker Mayfield, so Atlanta’s response with this mega Cousins contract is very noteworthy indeed. Now, they can focus their attention on acquiring a young, cheap and hopefully elite player with their top draft pick, rather than mortgaging multiple future assets to move up and pray a young QB works out.

While Cousins’ recovery from that ruptured Achilles is something of a red flag given how old he is in football terms, he was dancing on stage at NFL Honors right before the Super Bowl. That certainly bodes well for his chances to be healthy in time for Week 1, as does his track record of commendable durability. Prior to going down with that major injury, Captain Kirk had missed all of two starts in eight seasons as a full-time starter.

Cousins’ six-year run in Minnesota featured a revolving door of offensive coordinators, and only one playoff victory. Haters have continued to highlight Cousins’ lack of postseason success throughout his career amid his many bag-securing negotiations.

While I don’t agree that Cousins’ lack of playoff achievements are largely his doing, I can see why the Vikings wanted to start over at the most important position. That said, their path to a viable alternative anywhere near Cousins’ caliber is murky. They own the 11th pick in the draft, so moving up will be even more costly. Rumor has it that former No. 3 overall selection Sam Darnold is in Minnesota’s sights.

Darnold could be fine as a bridge starter. His experience in Kyle Shanahan’s system in San Francisco is a plus, since that’s more or less what Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell runs. However, good luck being competitive with Darnold under center in the NFC North with the Packers and Lions loom as legit Super Bowl contenders.

I still like the Bucs in the NFC South by a slim margin over the Falcons. Baker is younger, on a cheaper deal, not coming off a torn Achilles, and has a veteran-laden roster with a championship pedigree. At least with Cousins, a solid defense, and offensive weapons like Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts, Atlanta gives themselves a chance to be competitive in the NFC.

Now on to a healthy helping of the best reactions to Cousins landing in Atlanta.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock