NFL Rumors: Atlanta Falcons Targeting Quarterback Kirk Cousins in Free Agency

The Atlanta Falcons are hoping to make a major splash at the beginning of the new league year. According to ESPN's Dan Graziano, the Falcons' top solution at quarterback this offseason is to acquire former Washington Commanders and Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowler Kirk Cousins.

Cousins is wrapping up a one-year, $35 million extension and is expected to hit unrestricted free agency in the coming weeks, barring an extension. He is ineligible for the franchise tag. Graziano notes that the Vikings still have interest in re-signing the four-time Pro Bowler.

The Falcons hold the eighth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which likely means they're out of range of an elite quarterback prospect. Cousins is coming off an Achilles tear that held him to eight starts last year and will turn 36 years old before the beginning of the 2024 season, but there should be little doubt he's the best available passer in free agency. If the Falcons want to compete next season, Cousins will likely be the best they can do.

The NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers only managed a 9-8 record in 2023, so the Falcons don't have too far to go to fight for a playoff spot. They finished 7-10 last year despite subpar quarterback play, so adequacy at the position could go a long way.

Adequacy is just about all Cousins has to offer. In six seasons with Cousins, the Vikings have one playoff win to their name and have never finished better than eighth in points scored despite rosters loaded with offensive talent. Cousins has thrown passes to a parade of stars in Minnesota, including Pro Bowl wide receivers Justin Jefferson, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen, Pro Bowl tight ends Kyle Rudolph and T.J. Hockenson, and four-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook.

In Atlanta, Cousins probably won't be so lucky. The Falcons have a trio of promising recent high first-round picks in running back Bijan Robinson, wide receiver Drake London, and tight end Kyle Pitts, but it's unlikely Cousins will be able to elevate the Falcons offense to one of the NFL's best. Still, the Falcons and their fans could at least expect to be competitive for the next few years. That may be a welcome change of pace.

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