But that optimism won’t get you very far in Las Vegas, where the smart money is betting on San Francisco as the place where Cousins calls home in 2018.
According to OddsShark.com, Washington is the second likeliest place for Cousins to land, but it isn’t close to first:
The connection to San Fran is well-documented at this point, with Cousins’ first offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan running the show there. The interesting note here is that Cousins can still be franchise tagged next year if all goes well, so these odds suppose that the Redskins won’t do that (or that a trade could be initiated after the tag).
Some interesting names on the list are the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins.
In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger is signed through the 2019 season but has suggested that the 2017 season could be his last, thanks to concerns over CTE and head injuries. Regardless, the Steelers are perennial contenders and an opening at starting quarterback would undoubtedly be enticing for any quarterback.
In New Orleans, Drew Brees said he plans to retire as a Saint and joined Tom Brady in declaring that he could play for the better part of another decade. The feeling may not be mutual in the long run, but he is signed through the 2020 season. Aside from a career-ending injury, there’s little fit for Cousins there.
In Miami, the injury to Ryan Tannehill may change the trajectory of the organization, which brought in Jay Cutler to fill the gap for 2017. After the season, Cutler will be a free agent, but Tannehill remains under contract through 2020. While it’s possible that Cousins could represent enough of an upgrade to warrant consideration, it’s unlikely.
One team notably missing from this list is the other team Cousins has professional ties to: the Los Angeles Rams. Sean McVay and Co. inherited Jared Goff at quarterback there, but inherited quarterbacks who struggle have a long history of short exits in the NFL. If Goff’s play doesn’t dramatically improve in 2017, don’t be surprised to hear the Rams back in the Cousins conversation.
Of the rest of the teams on the list, the most predictable is Cleveland. The Browns should be considered contenders for every would-be free agent quarterback.