5 Best Fits For Kirk Cousins - And Draft Implications

5 Best Fits For Kirk Cousins - And Draft Implications

On Tuesday night, the Kansas City Chiefs traded veteran quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third round pick. Washington then signed Smith to a four-year extension, making him the man under center in the nation's capital for the next five years.

Which means Kirk Cousins, who ranks fourth in Washington franchise history in passing yards and has thrown for 4,000 yards and at least 25 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons, will be a free agent.

So where could Cousins go? And how will it impact the 2018 NFL Draft?

Here are our top five destinations for the former Michigan State quarterback, and how signing the soon-to-be 30-year-old will impact the draft for each team.

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1. Cleveland Browns

The Browns hired John Dorsey as their new GM, bringing him over from Kansas City; I figured the Browns would make a move on Smith because of Dorsey's amount of work with the player. Dorsey saw the impact a steady veteran quarterback can have on a team filled with young talent in Kansas City and could see the Browns ability to use their two top-four overall picks (and two of the top three in the second round as well) on other areas of need. The Browns have stockpiled picks for this year's draft and could change the future of the organization if they get it right at center.

Draft Impact: if the Browns sign a veteran quarterback, it changes everything in the top ten overall picks. Josh Rosen is the consensus number one quarterback and the Browns could be sitting on another pile of gold if they put the number one overall pick on the market for teams to jump in front of the Giants to get him. The Browns could also field offers for the number four pick if a team wants to jump in front of Denver and the Jets, both of whom also need a quarterback. If the Browns signed Cousins and stayed at picks one and four, a combination of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Quenton Nelson, Saquon Barkley and even possibly Roquon Smith come into play.

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2. New York Jets

Todd Bowles desperately needs a quarterback and the Jets could open their checkbooks to give Cousins the massive payday he will undoubtedly receive. The Jets suck, but they now look across the hallway at the Giants also being awful and have the opportunity to grab the imagination of their loyal fans with a big move like signing Cousins to fix all of their offensive problems.

Draft Impact: the Jets own the sixth overall pick; four teams own the five picks in front of them. Of the four teams in front of the Jets, at least Cleveland and Denver are in the market for a quarterback now while the Giants might use the second overall pick on a successor to Eli. Should the Jets opt to spend money and not another high draft pick, they could use their first round selection to address one of their other... 18 significant roster problems. Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson, Da'Ron Payne or Connor Williams would make sense.

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3. Buffalo Bills

Buffalo used a fifth round pick on Nathan Peterman last year and, for some ridiculous reason, made him the starter over Tyrod Taylor during the regular season. And Peterman looked awful. So does a team that made the playoffs for the first time in forever grab the momentum by the horns and throw a king's ransom at Cousins as a potential missing link to a deeper run in January? The fact that they signed Taylor to a six-year extension in August of 2016 and then benched him for Peterman tells you where the organization is at with their confidence in the players they have in-house at the position.

Draft Impact: this is where things get fun. Buffalo, like Cleveland, has stockpiled picks for 2018. The Bills own picks 21, 22, 53 and 56 overall, giving them four in the first two round to play with as a playoff team. If they bring in Cousins, using those other four picks to either move up and get a game-changer earlier is an option. They could also use those four picks to bolster a young, fun roster to add depth to their core for the next 3-5 years. One area they need to address is center with news that Eric Wood needs to retire. They could do that in the first, second or third round though.

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4. Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer just retired and the Cardinals desperately need someone to come in and play quarterback. Arizona used Palmer, Blaine Gabbert and another former Michigan State quarterback, 33-year-old Drew Stanton last season. The three combined to throw for under 4,000 yards, 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. But the cupboard is far from empty in the desert. Larry Fitzgerald is still elite, David Johnson was an MVP candidate heading into last season but a broken hand derailed his year, and Kerwynn Williams was a nice surprise at running back. Cousins would make sense if the Cardinals don't want to rebuild in the twilight of Fitzgerald's career.

Draft Impact: the Cardinals currently sit at 15 in the first round, one spot in front of the Baltimore Ravens who are reportedly interested in Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen if he falls. If Allen is in play at 15, the Cardinals might be able to get good value and move down to address additional needs. If they stay put at 15 and sign Cousins, some options might include Mo Hurst, Courtland Sutton, Rashaan Evans, Dallas Goedert and Tremaine Edmunds.

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5. Jacksonville Jaguars

They made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game and Blake Bortles did nothing to hurt his team... personally. But the lack of faith the coaches showed in him in key moments (ex: kneeling with 55 seconds left in the first half) will remain an Achilles' heel for the Jags. They hit it big with Leonard Fournette in the draft last year and their defense is young, fast and nasty. Their window is wide open right now, but that doesn't last forever in the NFL and Cousins might be enough to make them a viable Super Bowl contender.

Draft Impact: Jacksonville is sitting in the bottom four picks of each round right now because of their strong showing this year. But, again, the lack of faith the organization has in Bortles is an issue. If they sign Cousins, Bortles could become a trade chip if the Jags wanted to move up in the draft (packaged with their pick). If not, a team that likes Luke Falk or Mason Rudolph might need to jump in front of the Patriots; New England traded away two backup quarterbacks last season if you hadn't already heard.

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