After six years in Washington, Kirk Cousins will decide where he goes next – and while money will be a major factor, so will the supporting cast around him.
“The thing that I really do respect about what Kirk Cousins did over the last two years is he basically bet on himself,” former NFL MVP Boomer Esiason said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The Washington Redskins offered him all sorts of deals. He turned down all those deals, played for the guaranteed money that he was tagged with over the last two years, and I think the Redskins finally realized, ‘This guy doesn’t like us. He doesn’t want to be here. We have to move on.’ I like that about Kirk. I think he’s a highly competitive QB.”
Highly competitive, yes. Very solid, sure. But elite? Esiason says no.
“I don’t think he’s an upper-echelon guy,” Esiason said. “He’s not one of those top five guys in the league. But certainly if he gets with the right team – let’s say Denver – they will definitely be right back in the mix.”
After winning the Super Bowl in 2015, the Broncos have struggled to find Peyton Manning’s replacement. Denver is 14-18 over the last two seasons, with quarterback being the one glaring weakness on the team.
“If I’m Kirk Cousins, I’m looking for that team that has a top-five defense and offensive playmakers that I can utilize to the best of my abilities,” Esiason said. “To me, Denver makes the most sense. The question is, will Denver have enough money to get him to sign with them?”
Alex Smith, meanwhile, will replace Cousins in D.C. The 33-year-old has delivered consistent production throughout his career, but it’s clear he cannot carry a team like, say, Aaron Rodgers. He needs good players around him.
“There’s nothing wrong with being the type of player Alex is,” Esiason said. “But I think most people would tell you that in order to win a Super Bowl over the long haul with Alex, he’s going to need to have a really good team around him. If he’s on Jacksonville, I would tell you they would be the odds-on favorite for next year going to the Super Bowl and representing the AFC.”
Esiason sees many similarities between Smith and Cousins, even calling them “the same type of person.”
“The big difference is Kirk is a little bit younger, so he’s in the prime of his career right now,” Esiason said of the 29-year-old. “The interesting thing for him is that he will finally get to choose where he plays.”