Kirk Cousins signs 4-year, $180M deal with Atlanta Falcons

The biggest name in free agency is now off the market with the news that quarterback Kirk Cousins is leaving the Minnesota Vikings and signing a new four-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons, according to reports. Cousins’ deal is worth $180 million, with $100M of that guaranteed.

It’s a bombshell move that immediately makes the Falcons the best team in the NFC South without anyone close, while the Vikings are now left to pick up the pieces. Minnesota took a calculated risk to work on what they called a “competitive rebuild,” which has instead left them outside the Top 10 in the NFL Draft, without a future quarterback on the roster, and with the best players already taken in free agency. Now the team will have to move to a third or fourth-best option, and it’s unclear what the future holds.

The $45M per year deal is one of the largest in NFL history and shows tremendous faith that Cousins can remain a top-tier quarterback, even as he returns from a torn achilles which he sustained in 2023. This also means that Cousins is now earning the same amount as Patrick Mahomes, which is largely a product of the new NFL salary cap, which saw huge increases.

Atlanta get what they’ve been missing since Matt Ryan left the team: Consistency at the quarterback position. Cousins walks into a brilliant situation with Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts — all phenomenal talents who were wasted with Desmond Ridder under center. The move comes while the Buccaneers are trying to bounce back from losing offensive coordinator Dave Canales, the Saints manage their salary cap hell, and the Panthers try to stop being the worse franchise in football.

The door is now open for the Falcons to win the division with ease, and for Cousins to take the team on a playoff run. The pieces are in place, now it’s about executing. Regardless of what you think about Cousins he remains a Top 5 quarterback in the NFC, and with the entire conference suffering from year-over-year consistency problems there’s no telling how far the Falcons could go in 2024.

This has huge ripple effects throughout the quarterback position. With Atlanta now finding their starter it’s increasingly difficult to find a home for Justin Fields in a trade. The last remaining team in dire need of a QB (and not expected to draft one in April) is the Las Vegas Raiders, but current offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and Fields did not work well together in Chicago, which seems to rule out a reunion.

Now we wait to see what the Vikings will do at their QB position.

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