Even before the Super Bowl happens and weeks before NFL teams are allowed to make trades officially, two teams appear to have resolved their “QB situations”. The Chiefs will send Alex Smith to the Skins in a trade. That means the Chiefs will cast their lot with Patrick Mahomes in 2018 and presumably beyond and the Skins will part company with Kirk Cousins as their offensive leader. What surprises me the most about this is the timing; it is not as if the Chiefs got such a bounty in return that they dared not let the moment pass them by; the cost of acquiring Alex Smith was a third-round pick plus DB, Kendall Fuller.
According to reports, Smith will sign a 4-year extension – his contract has 1 year left to go – and the extension is worth $92M with $71M guaranteed. In today’s QB market, that is not a top-shelf price tag. This exchange will make Cousins an unrestricted free agent meaning that he can sign on wherever he wants. Here are potential landing spots – – in alphabetical order:
- Bills: The Bills keep giving indications that they want to move on from Tyrod Taylor. Are they in play here…?
- Browns: They have a ton of cap room, so they could – theoretically – offer a huge monetary deal. The team has a treasure trove of draft picks and an “offensive guy” as the head coach. They were willing to march into the future behind AJ McCarron a couple of months ago; Cousins is better than that. Here is the deal; these are the Browns…
- Broncos: That top-shelf defense is not getting any younger; the team has squandered a couple of years of its elite status. Cousins can likely provide a much quicker “fix” to the QB position than a top draft pick. I think the Broncos will be major players here.
- Cardinals: The retirement of Carson Palmer forces them to decide on their QB for the present and for the future. The team has a “rookie coach” who is a “defensive guy”. I don’t expect Cousins to end up here.
- Jags: Forget for a moment the stats and all that stuff and use the eyeball test. The Jags went to the AFC title game with Blake Bortles at QB; Kirk Cousins would be a significant upgrade at the QB position for this team.
- Jets: Jets’ fans have made the pursuit of Cousins a team priority; will the Front Office there heed the wishes of the fans? That is often not a good strategy; but, Lord knows, the Jets do need a QB desperately.
- Vikes: They have 3 QBs on the roster who have actually played in NFL games and all 3 of them have contracts that expire. I think they will “stay home” and get their QB from within their system, but they might decide to pursue Cousins.
I want to throw out one wild-card team to consider here. If I were running the Steelers, I would sit down very privately with Ben Roethlisberger and find out if he is committed to playing out the rest of his contract. He is to make $34M over the next 2 seasons but he has floated the idea of retirement and then rescinded it several times over the past 18 months. Obviously, if Roethlisberger is committed to finish his deal in Pittsburgh, the Steelers should pay no attention to Kirk Cousins; but if Roethlisberger wavers, there are facts the Steelers need to face:
- Kirk Cousins is a lot better than Landry Jones.
- The Steelers have plenty of offensive weapons that could be wasted without competency at the QB position.
Let me make an observation about the Jets as a potential landing spot for Cousins and the Jets’ fans hankering for him to come to NYC. Ask yourself this question:
- When was the last time the Jets had a “REALLY GOOD” quarterback?
I do not count Brett Favre for his one year with the Jets. Favre is a Hall of Fame QB to be sure, but he was well on the downward arc of his career in 2008 with the Jets. From 1998 to 2007, the Jets lived in the Vinny Testaverde/Chad Pennington Era; neither guy was terrible but neither guy was “Really Good” either. Boomer Esiason spent 3 years with the Jets toward the end of his career; none of those seasons was special in any way. Before Esiason, it was Ken O’Brien and Richard Todd and that takes us back to 1977.
The last “Really Good” QB for the NY Jets may in fact have been Joe Willie Namath. To put that in perspective, he is 6 months older than I am; and when I was in high school, they were able to teach all of World History in 4 days…
Meanwhile, the KC Chiefs appear to have embarked on what should be an interesting/eventful offseason for them. Last year, the Chiefs came out of the gate like gangbusters beating the Patriots in Foxboro by a score of 42-27. They won their first 5 games; then hit the skids losing 6 of 7 games in mid-season. After that, they turned it around and won out to win the AFC West. Then they laid a gigantic egg at home in the playoffs turning a 21-3 halftime lead over the Titans into a loss. Clearly, the Chiefs are not about to fire Andy Reid but now the team has a new offensive coordinator – the Bears hired Matt Nagy away to be their head coach – and a new starting QB. And that may be only the beginning of change in KC:
- The Chiefs’ defense last year was not very good – particularly against the run. Moreover, that defensive unit is not young and inexperienced; it could go over the cliff without the infusion of some new blood.
- The Chiefs also lost John Dorsey to the Browns as the Browns’ GM. Dorsey was the guy credited with organizing and executing the Chiefs’ draft processes that led to the roster they have.
It should be an interesting offseason for the Chiefs and Chiefs’ fans. However, it must be noted that along with “interesting” comes some angst and uncertainty.
Finally, since all of today’s rant deals with QBs and which teams may be looking for QBs, consider this comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times about one of the potential draftees at that position in this year’s draft:
“Wyoming QB, Josh Allen, told Cleveland’s WKRK FM Radio that ‘I want to be the guy that turns around the Cleveland Browns.’
“Might be time to start setting up a little blue tent on the draft-combine sideline.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………