Another quarterback trade rumor of unknown origin floated around Twitter on Thursday, at least the second of the kind this week for the Minnesota Vikings.
Earlier in the week, folks were packing Kirk Cousins’ bags for the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo. This time, Cousins could be scoping out real estate in Denver, Colorado, if the rumors come to fruition. Although, like the Cousins-to-49ers chatter, it is unlikely that Cousins is going anywhere other than U.S. Bank Stadium.
This is the offseason, however. With Cousins at the helm of the franchise, talking heads enjoy mix-and-matching him withvarious trade gossip nuggets. Cousins’ career performance is eerily similar to a player like Matthew Stafford, but he is not allotted the latitude or euphemistic reputation that Stafford commands.
The Cousins-Garoppolo buzz was dug up by two NFL personalities – Evan Massey of NFLAnalysis.net and Ross Tucker of My FrontPage Story. Both gents have blue Twitter checkmarks of authenticity. The Cousins-Broncos stuff does not outwardly have a source – but it is all over the place in Vikings echo chambers.
The Broncos have the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The hot-off-the-tweet hubbub is that Denver would ship that pick and Lock to Minnesota for Cousins. It is only after the Stafford trade to Los Angeles – for two 1st-Round picks, a 3rd-Round pick, and Jared Goff – did Cousins start equivocating 1st-Round picks. Before the Lions-Rams agreement, any Cousins trade chatter involved a 2nd-Round pick and maybe 4th-Round pick.
The Paton Connection
The general manager of the Broncos, George Paton, has a direct link to Minnesota. He was Rick Spielman’s understudy for almost two decades. Paton finally landed the head-boss gig in Denver, and immediately, he is tasked with casting judgment on the future of Lock. Heavy lies the crown.
Lock arrived the NFL from the University of Missouri in 2019 and was quite promising in his first five starts. He led Denver to a 4-1 record to finish 2019 en route to an admirable-for-a-rookie 84.9 passer rating. Truth be told, he was significantly better in his rookie season than his sophomore campaign. And that’s whythe Lock-stock has tumbled in recent months.
If Paton wanted Cousins in a long-term capacity, well, he has the scouting report. He was in the Twin Cities when the Vikings handed Cousins his piggybank in 2018. Paton should, in theory, know Cousins’ game more than most. That Paton connection to Cousins should be the only tangible facet of this rumor that adds up.
Cousins Coveted by Denver in 2018
Not for nothing – Denver purportedly wanted a piece of Cousins in 2018. The Broncos endured a hellish stint at the quarterback position after Peyton Manning retired – and it is arguably still ongoing. Manning was God-like for three seasons in Colorado. Then, in a very poor season by Manning’s Hall of Fame standards, Denver won a Super Bowl. Figure that one out.
During the 2018 offseason, the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, and Buffalo Bills were the franchises said to be embroiled in the Cousins Sweepstakes. TheVikings and Broncos were right there, too.
Cousins left the other suitors at the altar and joined the Vikings on a first-of-its-kind guaranteed quarterback contract. Controversy ensued.
Since Cousins inked the deal, any accomplishments by the 32-year-old are greeted by raised eyebrows on the matter of his salary. Per passer rating from 2018 on, he is the NFL’s seventh-best passer. His 103.6 passer rating is higher than Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, and Ben Roethlisberger during the timeframe.
Stock on Lock Low for Now. But There is Youth.
Much like the 49ers rumors, it doubtful that Cousins leaves Minnesota for Denver. Why? Because the Vikings have never sent a single signal pertaining to uneasiness with Cousins. If Minnesota wanted to move-and-shake in the trade market, NFL analysts like Ian Rapaport or Adam Schefter would probably know about and acknowledge the developments. So far, those two men have done inverse in downplaying the babble.
But the Vikings would not necessarily be damned with Drew Lock. He hasn’t turned 25 years old yet and has a rocket launcher for an arm. Lock is also lovable. His on-field persona is jubilant and uplifting – call it machismo.
Lock is younger than Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Patrick Mahomes. If granted time to mature into a franchise quarterback, he should be considered nearly a defacto rookienow based on his age – 24 years.
Other notable quarterbacks have encountered quasi-mediocrity out of the gate. Just because he has not fully emulated Justin Herbert – does not mean that he is doomed. In fact, Lock has passed for yards and touchdowns passes through 18 career starts than Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Josh Allen in their first 18 starts.