The Carolina Panthers called the Minnesota Vikings to see what it would take to acquire quarterback Kirk Cousins in a trade. Do not get too excited because the Vikings indicated they have no desire to trade Cousins, especially to the Panthers.
The Vikings could trade Cousins if the Panthers provide an enticing package that includes upcoming #6 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, the Vikings do not have many options because the trade market for Cousins is virtually nonexistent because he’s due $35 million in 2022. It’s a guaranteed contract, so the Vikings are on the hook even if they cut him.
The Vikings recently hired Kevin O’Connell as their new head coach. O’Connell won a Super Bowl with the LA Rams as their offensive coordinator. Vikings hope that Cousins will flourish under O’Connell. The two have history together when O’Connell worked as the quarterbacks coach of the Washington Football Team a few years ago.
O’Connell is one of the few people who have faith in Cousins. If it were up to the fans, they’d ditch Cousins as soon as possible. But very few teams are interested in an overpaid mediocre quarterback aside from the Carolina Panthers.
Despite all the hate, Cousins was a top nine quarterback on paper. In 16 games, Cousins completed 66.3% of his passes for 4,221 yards and 33 touchdowns. He threw only seven interceptions, which was tied for third-lowest in the NFL.
Head coach Matt Rhule has his job on the line this season. If he cannot turn around the team into a playoff contender, then he’s mot likely headed back to the collegiate ranks. He’s 10-23 after two seasons and the outlook is grim. The Panthers are +5000 odds to win Super Bowl 57 and listed among the bottom seven on the NFL futures board.
Teddy Bridgewater had a one-and-done season in 2020 with the Panthers before they traded him to the Denver Broncos. Rhule and the Panthers went 5-11 with Bridgewater.
The Panthers struggled once again in 2021 with a 5-12 record. The Sam Darnold experiment did not work out after the Panthers acquired him in a trade with the New York Jets. Darnold looked awesome after the first two games of the 2021 season. The Panthers were 2-0 and Darnold was the front runner to win Comeback Player of the Year. There were even whispers of MVP. However, reality sunk in. Darnold fractured his shoulder blade and he reverted back to his LOL Jets days. Things got so bad in Carolina that they brought Cam Newton back into the mix.
In 12 games with the Panthers, Darnold completed 59.9% of his passes for 2,597 yards. He threw only nine touchdowns, but 13 interceptions. Darnold has a QBR rating of 33.2 and ranked #29.
CMAC and Cousins?
Word out of Carolina is that the Panthers are shopping running back Christian McCaffrey. The dual threat running back is one of the most talented players in the NFL when he’s healthy. However, he’s been banged up the last two season ever since he signed a hefty contract extension.
If you have a dour outlook on the world, then this is the beginning of the end of McCaffrey as an elite running back. If you’re an optimist, then you think that McCaffrey is ready to put his bad luck with injuries behind him and he’s on the verge of a breakout season.
There’s a scenario where you plug in Cousins at quarterback and hope McCaffrey plays a full season. The NFC South is wide open with a weakened Tampa Bay Bucs. The Bucs won the division with a 13-4 record last season, but Tom Brady retired. The Bucs are shopping for a top-notch replacement at quarterback like Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson.
The New Orleans Saints have a new coach and need a quarterback because Jameis Winston’s rehab is behind schedule after he blew out his ACL in November. Backup QB Taysom Hill is not in the same league as Drew Brees, so the Saints are in trouble. It’s no wonder Sean Payton retired and jumped off a sinking ship.
The Atlanta Falcons went 7-10 last season, but Matt Ryan is a year older. Meanwhile, the Panthers are trying to upgrade Darnold by considering a trade with the Vikings for Cousins. If that is Carolina’s big solution, then Rhule’s days with the Panthers are numbered. The Panthers need to be thinking much bigger like Wilson or Watson, but then again, neither would waive their trade clause to play for the Panthers and their porous offensive line.