Kirk Cousins Signs Four-Year Deal with Falcons, Departing Vikings in High-Profile Move

Michael Rothstein, a distinguished staff writer for ESPN, brings the latest from the NFL Nation, focusing his expertise on the Atlanta Falcons. Follow his insights on Twitter @MikeRothstein for more updates.

In a significant move for their roster, the Atlanta Falcons have addressed their longstanding quest for a franchise quarterback by securing a deal with Kirk Cousins, the accomplished quarterback formerly with the Minnesota Vikings. Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney, confirmed on Monday that both parties have agreed on a four-year contract.

Adam Schefter of ESPN has revealed that the deal with Cousins is valued at $180 million, translating to $45 million annually, with a whopping $100 million guaranteed. This agreement marks a pivotal moment for the Falcons, aiming to solidify their quarterback position.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the Vikings’ general manager, expressed his sentiments, stating, “Despite engaging in extensive and positive discussions with Kirk and his representatives, we couldn’t align on a contract that suited both Kirk’s aspirations and the strategic direction of the Minnesota Vikings. Kirk has left an indelible mark on our franchise, and we are grateful for his leadership and contributions both on the field and in the Minneapolis-St. Paul community over the last six years. We extend our best wishes to Kirk, his wife Julie, and their family. Our strategy for free agency was built with multiple contingencies for the quarterback role, and we are now focused on executing plans that will enable us to compete for championships.”

Cousins is set to join an Atlanta offense that boasts a wealth of talent, especially with their first-round picks. The team’s offensive line features Jake Matthews at left tackle, Kaleb McGary at right tackle, and two-time Pro Bowler Chris Lindstrom at right guard. Cousins will also have dynamic first-round skill players at his disposal, including tight end Kyle Pitts, receiver Drake London, and running back Bijan Robinson.

This acquisition effectively concludes the Falcons’ prolonged search for a successor to Matt Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP, whom they traded to the Indianapolis Colts in 2022 after an unsuccessful bid for Deshaun Watson. Following Ryan’s departure, the Falcons had Marcus Mariota as their starting quarterback and drafted Desmond Ridder in the third round of the 2022 draft. Despite these efforts, the quarterback position remained a challenge, leading to significant changes, including the replacement of former head coach Arthur Smith with Raheem Morris.

Cousins, at 35, was enjoying one of his finest seasons in 2023 and has been among the NFL’s most reliable quarterbacks until a right Achilles tendon injury in Week 8 sidelined him. Before this setback, he had started 136 of a possible 138 games since becoming the starting quarterback for the Washington Commanders in 2015.

Throughout his 12-season career, Cousins has amassed 39,471 passing yards, ranking him fifth among active quarterbacks and 24th all-time. With 270 touchdowns to his name, he stands 20th in the all-time rankings, alongside 110 interceptions and an additional 958 rushing yards and 19 scores.

This strategic move by the Falcons not only enhances their offensive lineup but also sets a new course for the team’s future endeavors.

*Contribution to this report was made by ESPN’s Kevin Seifert.*