Bidding for Kirk Cousins Starts Monday: Vikings Offer on Table, Falcons Have Cold Feet?

Kirk Cousins
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The early “legal tampering window” for NFL free agency begins at 11 AM CT on Monday and runs through 3 PM on Wednesday. Kirk Cousins is seen as the first major QB domino that needs to fall and it’s expectation his decision will come by Tuesday, sometime.

According to Tom Pelissero (NFL Network), the plan is for Cousins to use Monday and Tuesday’s negotiating period to see what he can find on the open market. That 52-hour window will allow Kirk to shop his services to other interested teams, which is important because it gives him time to officially sit down with the Atlanta Falcons (possibly others) and hear out their offer for real.

Kirk Cousins’ 52-hour shopping window opens Monday

If another suitor blows the Vikings’ offer out of the water then he’s probably gone. But if Atlanta and other possible mystery teams (Tom mentions Denver as one sleeper) come in lower than what Kirk expects, which appears to be what the Vikings have been banking on, then Cousins will likely return to Minnesota with his tail between his legs, so to speak.

“I believe that Kirk Cousins is going to take this into Monday and he’s going to want to see exactly what the marketplace is out there, which is kind of what the Vikings preferred to let him do as well.”

“You’ve still got about a 52-hour window where Cousins can go out and see what’s there, then figure out if the path forward is in Minnesota or someplace else. I don’t think this is going to go into Wednesday. I don’t think Cousins needs to go take visits. I think it’s pretty clear who the teams involved are going to be. Whether it’s Monday or Tuesday, I don’t know but I do think it is going to come together quickly.”

Tom Pelissero – NFL Network

Of all the reports we’ve seen drop recently regarding Kirk Cousins, this one made the ‘Kirk to Atlanta’ unstoppable train feel much less of a run-away situation. Many believe that the NFL cares so little about illegal “tampering” that Cousins’ official offersheet from the Falcons is already in his hands.

Related: Vikings Expected to Target Zach Wilson, Sam Darnold if Kirk Cousins Walks

On Friday, however, Pelissero says the bulk of Kirk’s shopping for a new deal will come during the negotiating window on Monday and Tuesday. If that’s true, and there hasn’t been as much backchannel correspondence between Cousins’ agent Mike McCartney and the Falcons as expected, then maybe Cousins doesn’t know what Atlanta has to offer, afterall.

Cousins + Minnesota Vikings not dead yet?

Then this afternoon, NFL insider Jeremy Fowler (ESPN) was on NFL Live, where he too pumped the brakes on Kirk’s runaway southbound train. But Fowler did it in an even more abrupt fashion, noting that, yes, the Falcons are expected to sign one of Baker Mayfield, Justin Fields or Cousins.

Money, however, will factor into Atlanta’s decision-making, which is something we had not heard prior to Jeremy’s report Friday afternoon. Last we heard, Arthur Blank had told the Falcons front office to pay whatever was needed to get a Kirk deal done. If this new ESPN report is correct, then that is no longer the case.

“The latest is Minnesota and Kirk Cousins have left open the window that they can try to get something done before Monday’s negotiating period. But talking to people around the league and with both parties, it seems to be trending that he will go to the open market at this point where Atlanta would most likely be waiting.”

“The interest [from Atlanta] is real. Depends on the price point. I’m told that [the Falcons] have to make a, ‘quote’, budgetary decision. Are they willing to go to that stratosphere to pay [Cousins] or do they wait out maybe a Baker Mayfield, if he goes the free agency market would be a little bit cheaper. Do they go the Justin Fields route? The feeling around the league is that Atlanta walks away with one of those three players, Fields, Mayfield, Cousins, any of which, of course, would be a massive upgrade in a wide open division.”

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Vikings’ status with Kirk Cousins – NFL Live

Look, there is nothing in Pelissero or Fowler’s reports today that confirm one way or another what happens to Kirk Cousins, but with just days remaining until the legal tampering period, I’m not quite as convinced that he’s leaving as I was when I woke up this morning.

Related: Vikings Interested in DT Christian Wilkins, Among Other Top Defensive Free Agents

What if all of the reports post-combine were coming from Mike McCartney, in hopes of pushing Cousins’ value up? Remember, it’s the Minnesota Vikings who have stood pat this entire time convinced Kirk will not find the offers he is expecting (or what is being reported) once he hits the open market?

At this point, we do not know which side will be right but it does look like the market will get to dictate Cousins’ worth. Unless of course, Fowler is onto something when he mentioned an extension before Monday not being dead in the water quite yet…? Stay tuned…

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