The Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings are on the fringe of being a playoff, possibly deep-playoff contenders, but are both seemingly stuck in the limbo of having quarterbacks who can’t get a team over the top.
For some reason, some insiders think swapping the two could do the trick, at least for one of them.
The Vikings finalized a deal to bring in Cleveland Browns executive Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their next general manager, and doing so has sparked speculation that a QB swap could be in the cards.
Ian Wharton of Complex had already predicted that Cousins would end up playing for the Browns in 2022.
“As painful as it may be for [Cleveland] Browns fans who are loyal to the quarterback who helped break the franchise’s playoff drought, the team needs to explore all avenues to improve the position. [Baker] Mayfield was awful in 2021 as injuries exacerbated poor decision-making, field vision, and accuracy. In total, Mayfield has been average or worse for the majority of his tenure in Cleveland considering 2019, the first half of 2020, and 2021.
The good news is there are plenty of better candidates on the market. While the team should do everything they can to acquire Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson, both of those players have the cache and, in Watson’s case a no-trade clause, to direct where they’d go. They should want to join Cleveland’s impressive roster, but it’s unknown how they feel at this time.
The natural choice is to acquire Kirk Cousins as the Vikings look to shake up their roster and coaching staff. Cousins is entering the last year of his deal, owed $35 million in salary and carrying a $45 million cap hit. That deal is meant to be restructured, and Cleveland can oblige without killing their flexibility.
Cousins’ familiarity and extreme success with Stefanski makes this an easy fit to see. Cousins isn’t nearly as impactful as his crazy stat lines suggest, but he raises the baseline of an offense to a solid level. Cleveland would be a considerable Super Bowl contender with a borderline top-10 quarterback like Cousins, and he takes the guesswork out of the position that Mayfield brings.”
Browns reporter Tony Grossi of The Land on Demand noted that he senes as if the “dots are being laid” for the trade.
The two issues that could be deal breakers in the move is whether Mayfield and his injury history are enough of the risk to give up Cousins, and on the Browns side, if they are willing to take on him and his massive contract, as he’s owed $35 million next season.