A couple of things are true: the Vikings have stated repeatedly in their actions and words that Kirk Cousins could be the Vikings’ last quarterback in 2023, while the Jets are in need of immediate QB help after Aaron Rodgers’ devastating injury. Minnesota is also 0-2 to start the year after losing 34-28 to the Eagles on Thursday night.
Next, you’ll see what happens.
Cousins could make sense as a Jets trade target soon, if he doesn’t already. If you’re skeptical, you might think: But the Vikings aren’t out of it after just two games! But the Jets already paid big money for Rodgers! But Cousins has a no-trade clause! But the Jets said Zach Wilson was the guy for them!
For each of them, there is a perfectly reasonable response.
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Vikings aren’t done. The general manager of this team, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, said in March that 2023 would be a “competitive rebuild.” An 0-2 start is deadly; only 12 of the 125 teams that lost their first two games made the playoffs between 2007 and 2021. At the combine, Minnesota considered trading for ex-49ers quarterback Trey Lance. Minnesota shipped out win-now pieces such as Dalvin Cook and Eric Kendricks during the offseason.
It is simply inconceivable that the team would not consider selling high on Cousins in his contract year, before he has the chance to turn around and net them a much smaller sum through compensatory picks. His current offensive line isn’t exactly dynamic, so their chances of protecting him in Minnesota are slim. Adofo-Mensah could be richly rewarded if he gained at least one premium pick from a potential deal, and with multiple picks due in 2024 they could make a draft-day quarterback move which has eluded them for many years.
The Jets clearly have capital tied up in Rodgers. However, Cousins is contracted for one year with a $20.25 million pay-out until 2023. The Vikings would likely swallow some of that cost to get the trade done should they decide to take that route. Furthermore, Cousins wouldn’t necessarily reject the idea of restructuring the contract or waiving the no-trade clause if it meant playing for New York with talented weapons and defence, becoming a hero in the big city, before potentially securing a lucrative free agent agreement in 2024?
The Jets may claim to have faith in Zach Wilson, but only to a certain point. The reason they initially targeted Aaron Rodgers, a veteran quarterback nearing 40 at the time, is because the other free agents would offer only marginal improvements upon Wilson. Also, though Kirk Cousins doesn’t know the system, his possible availability makes him an upgrade for the team if the Minnesota Vikings experience a decline.
It doesn’t matter how many knocks Cousins receives, he’s a borderline top 10 starter year after year. There couldn’t be a better Plan B if the Jets are truly all-in on a title run, as they’ve advertised, so not even a shoddy O-line could stop him from clawing his way into a potential comeback on Thursday.
When it comes to possible trades, there are certainly hurdles that must be addressed. But when it comes to the Vikings and Jets, the logical connections cannot be disregarded if Minnesota continues to lose – particularly with the Chargers and Chiefs being two of their next three opponents. That might explain why “Thursday Night Football” analyst Richard Sherman mainly forecasted a Cousins move to New York following Week 2’s kickoff game; considering his familiarity with Robert Saleh from his days in San Francisco.