One Team May Be Off the List of Potential Kirk Cousins Destinations

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings’ offseason more than likely will begin with a decision regarding QB Kirk Cousins.

The team can either offer him an extension in the next few weeks, or they will allow his contract to void, thus putting $28.5 million in dead money on their salary cap books for the 2024 season. If he is to hit free agency, the possibility of the veteran QB leaving the team becomes much more real.

Should the 35-year-old QB head to free agency, there are a couple intriguing landing spots for Cousins that could offer him the money he wants while also an opportunity to compete immediately. However, one team may be off the list, according to former NFL star Chad Johnson.

One Team May Be Off the List of Potential Kirk Cousins Destinations

Kirk Cousins
Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The common landing spots for Cousins, according to many folks in NFL circles, include the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, and Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Pittsburgh is the team that might be coming off that list.

Johnson said on Shannon Sharpe’s Nightcap show, “A little birdie told me, and I said this many shows ago, Russel Wilson’s coming on over to the Steelers.”

Pittsburgh has been an interesting landing spot for Cousins for a few reasons. Firstly, they are perennially competitive, having not suffered a single losing season in 20 years. The 2003 campaign is still the franchise’s only losing season during the 21st century, and they have suffered that fate just seven times since 1972.

Jan 15, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks the field before the game against the Buffalo Bills in a 2024 AFC wild card game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally, Pittsburgh offers some great talent on the offensive side of the ball. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren lead the way in the backfield while Pat Friermuth, Diontae Johnson, and George Pickens have been solid receiving options throughout the past few years.

While Cousins can certainly still lead an offense at a high level, Wilson may make a touch more sense for Pittsburgh at this point. If Johnson proves to be correct, and the Steelers onboard Wilson, they would save a ton of money at the position.

Wilson likely is set to be released by the Denver Broncos this offseason, but they remain on the hook for a boatload of money towards the veteran QB that they traded for just two years ago. As a result, the team that signs Wilson will get a very cheap deal compared to market value. Pittsburgh won’t need to spend $35-$50 million on Cousins.

Aug 27, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) prior to the start of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As things currently stand, the Steelers sit at $6 million above the salary cap for 2024, per Over the Cap. Unless they pushed money into future years (which is certainly possible), Pittsburgh would need to free up a good chunk of cash to even get into the race for Cousins. For Wilson, though, the amount of money and years of total commitment become much lower.

Of course, very few items are certain at this point in the NFL offseason. We will simply have to wait and see if Johnson’s prediction proves correct.

Editor’s Note: Information from Over the Cap helped with this article.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.