Atlanta Falcons Target Kirk Cousins NFL Free Agency - Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons News

Falcons Connected to $35 Million Free Agent QB

To begin March, ESPN’s Aaron Schatz took a stab at naming the most important potential free agent signings for each NFL team. Unsurprisingly, he identified quarterback as the biggest position of need for the Atlanta Falcons.

To fill that need, Schatz named Kirk Cousins the best option for Atlanta.

“The Falcons can’t go on with Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke as their quarterbacks. They’re wasting a great group of skill players that includes WR Drake London, RB Bijan Robinson and TE Kyle Pitts,” Schatz wrote. “So how about bringing in a veteran and pairing him with a young heir apparent from the middle rounds of the draft?

“Cousins had 63.2 QBR in half a season in 2023, his highest QBR since 2016. He had success playing for Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, a former protégé of coach Sean McVay. Here he could play for offensive coordinator Zac Robinson, who was also a McVay protégé.”

Cousins, who played on a 1-year, $35 million contract last year, suffered a torn Achilles tendon during Week 8 of the 2023 season. But before that, he was playing some of the best football of his career.

The veteran quarterback also described his injury rehab as “a positive experience” in January.

Assuming that continues and the Falcons sign Cousins, they could become the favorites in a division that hasn’t had a team win at least 10 games since 2021.

Cousins made the Pro Bowl in both 2021 and 2022. During the 2022 season, Cousins led the NFL with 8 fourth-quarter comebacks and 8 game-winning drives.

Desmond Ridder wasn’t bad in crunch time during the 2023 season. He posted four game-winning drives in just 13 starts last fall.

But Ridder struggled outside of the fourth quarter. Overall, he completed 64.2% of his passes for 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

As far as Taylor Heinicke goes, he’s a candidate for the Falcons to release for cap savings.

Cousins turns 36 in August, so he isn’t a long-term solution. But he would offer immediate upside to take advantage of the offensive weapons the team has accumulated in the draft the last three years.

In 140 games, Cousins has posted a 76-67-2 record with 270 touchdowns. He’s also averaged 7.6 yards per attempt with a 66.9% completion percentage.

During 2023, he led the Vikings to a 4-4 record with 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.