Kirk Cousins stock has never been higher even though some stats have never been lower. For what?
In 2022, Kirk Cousins posted his lowest quarterback rating (QBR) as an NFL starter and his lowest completion percentage as a Viking.
He also significantly improved his stock among NFL quarterbacks.
How can this be true?
Because Cousins played well in the clutch, multiple times, for the first time in his career, and led the Vikings to 13 wins, and a slew of NFL quarterbacks imploded, crumbled , moved and/or discovered hallucinogens.
One of the many tough negotiations facing the Vikings this offseason involves Cousins. He has one year left on his contract. In a perfect world, he’d accept a restructured deal that frees up money below the salary cap so the Vikings can try to win big over the next few years with him as their starter.
The cousins could play like Tom Brady did in New England and prioritize winning over maximizing his paycheck. Considering he made $201 million during his NFL career, he could afford to do that.
He is also represented by agents and a union member, so it may be unrealistic to expect him to leave money on the table.
What is certain is that Cousins is the best he has ever been, he has been remarkably durable, the Vikings have no succession plan and a lot of teams who thought they could win by changing quarterback have proven that it’s not as easy as it looks. Reminders of this, and other difficulties, were everywhere last fall:
Deshaun Watson stank. Aaron Rodgers had his worst season. Russell Wilson got embarrassed. Derek Carr got cut.
Mac Jones has regressed. Tom Brady is one step closer to retirement. Carson Wentz collapsed. Dak Prescott threw the ball to the other team. Baker Mayfield continued to interrupt his acting career with bad passes.
Matt Ryan has aged like canned wine. Matthew Stafford played like a Lion. Kyler Murray played as a teenager.
In my own personal, subjective ranking of quarterback power, I had Cousins as the 14th-best quarterback in the NFL entering the 2022 season.
He may have cut that ranking in half.
Question of the day: How many quarterbacks would the Vikings feel good about trading cousins for, one for one?
1. Patrick Mahomes, who might be the greatest of all time.
2. Joe Burrow. An ideal mix of competence and leadership.
3.Josh Allen. Had his struggles in 2022, but remains one of the best quarterbacks in the franchise.
4. Jalen hurts. He could have been the NFL’s MVP had he stayed healthy throughout the season.
5. Justin Herbert. Could be the next big thing, if the Chargers can surround him with a quality team.
1. Lamar Jackson is a former league MVP who carried what has often been a nondescript team, but injuries and stalled negotiations made him a risk.
2. Trevor Lawrence begins to deliver on his promise. A prototype in many ways, he’s younger and more talented and could be a good bet.
3. Tua Tagovailoa had a strong statistical performance last season, but he’s small and hasn’t been as durable as Cousins.
4. Rodgers is coming off a bad season, has become reclusive in the offseason, didn’t work with his younger teammates last summer, and is making a ton of money. He is one of the greatest to ever play in this position, but is there any reason to believe he will find his form again?
1. Wentz is a bad quarterback in the NFL.
2. Murray is untrustworthy, as some of his teammates have said or implied.
3. Jared Goff played in a Super Bowl and helped lift the Lions last year, but he’s no better than Cousins, at least not yet.
4. Prescott damaged his stock with damaging interceptions last year when his team had the chance to make a run.
5. Stafford looked like he was playing for the Lions again last year.
6. Justin Fields might be a wonderful quarterback, but we won’t know until his team gives him an offense and stops relying on his remarkable running ability.
7. Brock Purdy and Trey Lance might be great but have a lot to prove.
If Rodgers leaves the division, the Vikings will have the best quarterback in the NFC North for the first time in decades.
If Rodgers doesn’t leave the division, the Vikings could still have the best quarterback in the NFC North. That’s how much the league’s quarterback rankings have changed over the past seven months.
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