Are the Atlanta Falcons making the right move in signing Kirk Cousins?

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8)
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The long wait is over. The Atlanta Falcons have found their quarterback.

On Monday afternoon, the road ahead for Raheem Morris and Terry Fontenot's team became much more clear with the news that Kirk Cousins will be coming to Georgia on a 4-year deal.

QB Kirk Cousins agrees to a 4-year deal with the Falcons. (via @MikeMcCartney7)

— NFL (@NFL) March 11, 2024

It is a move that undoubtedly puts the franchise in a far better spot at the sport's most important position, but was this the right move?

Will Cousins stay healthy?

The biggest question regarding the former Viking quarterback is unquestionably his physical status going forward. His 2023 season ended in Week 8 after he tore his Achilles against the Green Bay Packers, and at age 35, that has to be cause for concern.

Yes, prior to last season, Cousins' injury history was impeccable. Per DraftSharks, the 2023 Achilles tear was the first official injury he'd suffered since a sprained ankle at Michigan State in 2009. You couldn't ask for a better track record.

However, age could be a harbinger of things to come in this situation. As he enters the back half of his 30s, could the popped Achilles be the snowball that begins his late-career physical deterioration? It's a realistic possibility.

And while contract details won't become official or be revealed until Wednesday, it's been reported that Cousins' asking price has been somewhere in the ballpark of $40 million per year. If that is indeed what Terry Fontenot is giving the quarterback, it's a massive financial risk that could become a disaster.

Hopefully, Cousins stays healthy, because this offense could be electric with him at the helm, but it's hard not to let those cynical thoughts creep into the back of your mind on this move.

What about the future?

This franchise is exiting a dark period that was primarily brought on by salary cap issues. Late in the Thomas Dimitroff era in Flowery Branch, the Falcons spent big and kicked cap hits down the road in order to remain in win-now mode with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones leading the franchise.

Those two players, albeit Falcon legends, reached their physical twilight years, and as their ability waned and they moved on, all that money just weighed down the franchise.

At the same time, that win-now mentality left Atlanta without a QB of the future in a post-Ryan world.

So, with Cousins reportedly set to make a ton of money, and the franchise clearly wanting to win significantly right now, will those mistakes be repeated?

Obviously, the eighth overall pick now does not go to a quarterback. However, will Fontenot have enough foresight to spend a 2nd or 3rd round pick on one of these players? This year's draft is loaded, and giving someone like Michael Penix time to learn behind Cousins could benefit the Falcons for the next decade-plus.

If the plan is just trot out Kirk Cousins, backed up by Taylor Heinecke, with no eye toward the future, Atlanta could be back at square one in three or four seasons.

Additionally, if the Cousins contract is structured in a way that kicks all of this money down the road, the franchise could be paying for it when he's no longer throwing passes.

So, is this the right move?

There is obviously a lot of risk here, but in the NFL, sometimes you have to make big bets. Cousins, when healthy, has been such a productive quarterback. He's had a special relationship with Justin Jefferson, and he's led the Vikings to big offensive numbers and several playoff appearances.

With Bijan Robinson behind him, and Kyle Pitts and Drake London running routes, the 2024 Falcons offense can be special.

Atlanta could have taken the safe route here, spending less money on a lower-risk player, but this roll of the dice is what this franchise needs. After mediocre seasons under half-baked quarterback situations, this is the kind of gutsy move that fans will get behind.

Could this be a disaster? Sure. Is it the right move? It absolutely is.