New wrinkle revealed in Falcons, Kirk Cousins, Michael Penix saga

NFL: OCT 23 49ers at Vikings

When the Falcons decided to draft Michael Penix with their top pick, it shocked the NFL world, including Kirk Cousins.

The $180 million free agent was reportedly taken back and annoyed. After all, he had inked a deal under the assumption that Atlanta would be maximizing his contract, which many believed would entail a defender or pass catcher in the first round.

Instead, he got a piece that won’t contribute in 2024 and will also add a certain amount of drama to the situation. The Falcons couldn’t inform Cousins about Penix in hopes of keeping it under wraps, but had he known about their intentions, he seemingly wouldn’t have come to Atlanta in free agency.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated has just added a new wrinkle to the entire saga, revealing that the veteran didn’t re-sign with the Vikings because, in part, they were open about their intention of taking a quarterback in the draft.

“Here’s why—a reason he decided to leave Minnesota is because the Vikings were very up front with the 35-year-old about the possibility that, even in the case he stayed, they’d take a quarterback of the future high in the draft. Tying that together with the team’s willingness to guarantee part, but not all, of a second year on another contract, Cousins figured that, if he stayed, there was a good shot that he’d be on the move in 2025.”

Breer added that he knows how appreciative Cousins was about Minnesota’s openness about their draft strategy and then asked a rhetorical question about how you would feel if you were in Cousins’ situation.

Now, everyone will be waiting eagerly for all of this to play out within Flowery Branch. There’s a better chance things go awry than easy sailing. The Falcons are betting on Kirk Cousins’ professionalism, Michael Penix’s maturity, and the staff’s ability to balance all of these plates.

This new bit of information doesn’t make me feel bad for Cousins. He got $90 million guaranteed with this deal, but it’s once again another story that is painting the Falcons in a poor light. That is what sticks in my craw.

Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

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