Possible Destinations for Kirk Cousins in 2022

Kirk Cousins 2022
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With the 2021 NFL now over with for the Minnesota Vikings, there are some questions that will need to be answered this off-season in preparation for the 2022 campaign. From questions in the front office to the head coach and who will fill those vacancies, to players who are actually taking part on the field of play, the Vikings have plenty to figure out and finalize with the off-season now underway.

One of those questions present comes at the quarterback position and what that spot might look like both in the new year and into the future in Minnesota. Mainly questions revolve around Kirk Cousins and if he will ultimately be under center for the purple and gold next year or if another quarterback will be leading the Vikings. Minnesota could look to try and shed Cousins and his sizable contract this off-season to start fresh at quarterback, or it could roll with Cousins in the final year of his contract in 2022.

Before the new season inches closer, let’s look at some potential landing spots for Cousins and dive into some possibilities for where the veteran quarterback could play in his 11th year in the NFL.

Possible Landing Spots for Kirk Cousins in 2022

Minnesota Vikings

The first and perhaps most obvious landing spot for Kirk Cousins in 2022 is his current team, the Vikings. Although many think Minnesota try moving Cousins this off-season, the organization has not indicated a desire to shed Cousins this off-season. Hence, the team could retain him in an effort at a playoff run.

Cousins has not been bad in Minnesota by any means. However, he has received some criticism for his lack of stepping up on the big stages throughout his career, including in Minnesota. That mixed with his large contract could persuade Minnesota to ultimately try and find suitors for Cousins on the trade market. That will not be an easy task though and likely would result in the Vikings bringing him back in 2022 to remain as the starting quarterback.

Cousins could still try and help lead Minnesota, which has a talented roster, on a postseason run in 2022. Regardless of how the upcoming year shakes out, Cousins’ most likely destination as of now is back in purple and gold for a fifth season.

Cleveland Browns

To start the list of teams outside of Minnesota, the Cleveland Browns are one of the more intriguing landing spots for Kirk Cousins in 2022. The Browns have a win-now roster and are likely on the search for an upgrade at quarterback after an up-and-down season with Baker Mayfield under center. That sense of urgency to try and win right now could push Cleveland to take a shot on Cousins via trade.

There is a connection between Cleveland and Cousins, that being Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski. He worked closely with Cousins when they were both in Minnesota before Stefanski left the Vikings to take his current position in Cleveland. That means both Cousins and Stefanski are familiar with each other and would know what it would take to make that relationship work if or when a move would be made to bring the veteran quarterback to the Browns.

If Kirk Cousins does not return to Minnesota in 2022, Cleveland seems like one of the top destinations to bring him in. Cleveland could offer a player like Mayfield in return, which could be enticing to the new Vikings coach. If Cousins is moved this off-season, keep an eye on Stefanski and the Browns as the landing spot.

Denver Broncos

Another option that is an intriguing landing spot for Cousins is the Denver Broncos, who have been on the search for a quarterback to lead the organization ever since Peyton Manning retired. Denver has experimented with a few different quarterbacks both via the draft and in free agency; none have succeeded. Perhaps a trade for a veteran like Cousins is something that would entice the Broncos.

Like Cleveland, there is a tie between Denver and Cousins as well which makes this move interesting. Broncos general manager George Paton, who took over in the front office in 2021, was part of the group with the Vikings who helped sign and bring in Cousins as a free agent in 2018. At the time, Paton was assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel with Minnesota.

With that connection, perhaps Paton would be interested in once again acquiring Cousins to help lead the Broncos and finally shore up the team’s need under center. His connection not only with the quarterback but with his old team could make Cousins in Denver a reality before the 2022 campaign kicks off.

Carolina Panthers

Much like Denver, the Carolina Panthers struggled in finding a quarterback to lead the team on a consistent basis since Cam Newton led the team (the first time) and put together an MVP season a handful of years ago. Given the uncertainty surrounding Newton and Sam Darnold‘s futures in Carolina, the Panthers may decide to make a move for a veteran quarterback.

The Panthers could try and at least look elsewhere initially for a quarterback; potentially towards players like Deshaun Watson or other quarterbacks on the free agent market this off-season. If those options do not work out for the Panthers, maybe they look to the trade market and call the Vikings to see if a deal can be made to bring Kirk Cousins to Carolina in 2022.

If the Panthers are able to feature a consistent passing game to go along with Christian McCaffrey and the dominant rushing attack, Carolina could hold an offense that ends up being one of the more dangerous units in the entire NFL next year.

Pittsburgh Steelers

After seeing what took place in the Pittsburgh Steelers final home game of the regular season in Week 17, it’s pretty obvious that Ben Roethlisberger‘s time as the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh is coming to an end after this season. If the Hall of Fame worthy quarterback retires or is left behind, they would obviously be on the search for a replacement under center in 2022 and beyond.

A quick way of Pittsburgh to replace Roethlisberger would be via a trade. Potentially, a trade with Minnesota to see if a deal could be made to bring a veteran Cousins to the Steel City. Pittsburgh still has a win-now roster and one that could make a run at a deep post-season run with the right pieces on both sides of the ball. Getting a quarterback who is ready to win right now would be the most likely scenario.

If Cousins takes over in Pittsburgh, the Steelers offense could continue to thrive to counter the dominant defense already in place. Pittsburgh could be just a few players away from contending for a Super Bowl in 2022, and maybe Cousins would be one of those pieces that could make a difference.

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