For the past few years, Kirk Cousins has been one of the more popular quarterbacks to talk about in the league. He is consistent, puts up stats, and is a leader both on and off the field. Cousins is the spitting image of someone you would want to lead your team.
Whether or not you believe he is worth that much money, Cousins made history by signing a 3-year, $84M contract that was fully guaranteed. His contract is what will set the standard for the future and current players of the league. However, Cousins has had the stigma of an unreliable player.
“He doesn’t come up in the big moments” or “He can’t beat a team with a winning record”. Fans of the league love to make these comments, but there is a case to be made for his worth and legacy in the league. This year will be the most important of Cousins’ career.
While it’s fair to debate whether or not Cousins is playing like a quarterback worth $27M per year, you can’t compare him to Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Cousins is the perfect system quarterback to play the game. If the system works and aids him, he excels and is one of the most exciting players to watch. If it fails and teams are forced to rely on him too much, he falters.
He compliments the team around him, whereas others such as Brady and Rodgers are integrated into the system to carry the load when needed. If we were to compare Cousins to any quarterback, it should be Peyton Manning. Here are some facts to back it up:
- Kirk Cousins is 33-4-1 when he has less than fifteen QB pressures in a game.
- If a defense gives up more than 23 points, the league’s average points scored by a team over the past five years, Cousins is 8-23-2. When his defense holds the opposing team under 23 points, he is 25-5.
- Cousins has only lost one game when he throws over 300 yards and when his running back(s) get 100 yards or more (Lions-Redskins in 2016).
Cousins is a unique player in the league. Just a glance at the three stats above can show why he struggled to get things done in Washington; a team that hasn’t been able to be consistent in any aspect over the last five years. Minnesota was supposed to be the dream opportunity for him. In 2017, the year before he arrived, they were 8th in rushing, 6th in QB pressures, and 4th in total defense. The following year, they ranked 30th in rushing, 16th in QB pressures, and 10th in total defense.
Regardless of your opinion of the Michigan State alumni, the 2019 season will be the most important of his career. He plays in the most difficult and most uncertain division in perhaps the entire NFL. Cousins, 31, realistically has only six or seven years left. If he takes advantage of the right moments, he can turn his career around with a stellar season. Otherwise, he will be remembered as a quarterback with a ridiculous stat count that couldn’t get it done in the limelight.
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