The Atlanta Falcons will be looking to change their fortunes in 2024. The team that started out hot in 2023 has quickly died down due to bad coaching and bad quarterback play.
However, according to recent reports, the Falcons may have a plan when it comes to fixing one of those issues.
Impending free agent Kirk Cousins linked to the Atlanta Falcons in 2024
The Atlanta Falcons have started three different quarterbacks for numerous games since they traded away Matt Ryan in 2022. Initially, Marcus Mariota was the starter but then they moved to then-rookie Desmond Ridder at the end of the 2022 season and the start of the 2023 season. But Taylor Heinicke ended up taking his job and now things are even more murky heading into the bye week.
Needless to say, the Falcons could use what they had for over a decade with Matt Ryan—quarterback stability.
Thankfully, a top quarterback is scheduled to become a free agent after his fully-guaranteed contract expires this year and that is Kirk Cousins. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Falcons are the team to watch for Kirk Cousins.
Here is what Fowler said (ESPN+ required for link):
" I've started asking teams about this, and Atlanta comes up fairly often. The Falcons have improved their roster and need a quarterback to bring it all together. What coach Arthur Smith does on offense meshes with Cousins' ability to utilize play-action. Cousins would find comfort in Atlanta's talented roster of playmakers, similar to what he had in Minnesota. The chance to win is there. And though Cousins will be expensive, he is going on his fifth NFL contract (excluding franchise tags from the Washington days) and will turn 36 in August. A team set to have $36 million in cap space in 2024 should be able to handle his potential deal."- Jeremy Fowler, ESPN
He also stated this in another article (ESPN+ subscription required):
"Cousins' current contract states he cannot be franchise-tagged, so it's open season for the accomplished quarterback. That said, staying in Minnesota is still on the table. Teams I've talked to project a Derek Carr-like market ($37.5 million annually) with stronger guarantees, though perhaps not the fully guaranteed deals that Cousins has enjoyed in the past. Multiple people I've talked to around the league consider Atlanta a sensible spot for Cousins. "- Jeremy Fowler
Is this a good idea? Well, that depends on who you ask. Obviously, every team's dream is to land a superstar quarterback in the draft and build around them while they are still on their rookie contract, but the reality is that that is easier said than done. Draft picks are like the lottery and any number of things can go wrong with a specific player.
At the very least, you know that you are going to get good play from a player like Kirk Cousins. He has shown that he can command a good offense and that is something the Falcons need right now.
Things are more complicated now that Cousins is injured. You have to make sure that they are healthy before handing them $30+ million per year.
We will have to wait until March to see what happens (assuming the Vikings don't extend him).