Kirk Cousins. He was the free agent prize of the offseason. The former Washington quarterback cashed in hugely this offseason and will now drop back and fire it for the Minnesota Vikings. It was widely assumed and even reported that every team looking for a new rear pivot took a shot on Cousins. That is, except the Denver Broncos. Denver went out right away and grabbed Case Keenum, the rejected Vikings quarterback. So who will be more effective in his first season?
Cousins or Keenum
Argument for Keenum
The veteran QB has played for several teams and was only in the lineup due to an injury to starter Sam Bradford last year, not exactly the pedigree that teams look for. Nonetheless, he went on to have a career year, keeping interceptions way down and even pulling off a miracle win over the Saints in the playoffs. Denver apparently only spoke to Keenum before signing him, electing not to compete with the high salary that Cousins was going to demand. So cost efficiency it would seem is also a calling card of Keenum.
Argument for Cousins
Despite Washington’s chaotic makeup, Cousins put up big numbers year after year. He would invariably have a whole new crop of receivers to throw to each season and tight end Jordan Reed was always hurt. Still, he played with passion and was always a threat to connect big downfield. You might recall that Cousins was a late round pick who ended up pushing RGIII out of town. He brings a lot of fire to the Vikings, who could have used that competitiveness in that NFC Championship game.
In the end, it’s hard to judge which one will do better without any sort of sample size with their new teams. But we can judge it from the peripherals. Keenum comes MUCH cheaper, enabling the Broncos to keep their defensive core together, a luxury that Cousins doesn’t offer. Keenum also has a playoff win under his belt, while Cousins has NEVER won a playoff game. It feels like if you are paying a QB all that dough he should at least be proven at the most important time of the year. Heck, even Blake Bortles has more playoff wins than Cousins.
On the intangibles side, Keenum grew up a John Elway fan, releasing a pic of him in an Elway jersey as a kid. Now if that doesn’t say he’s a strong fit with Denver then I don’t know what is.
In conclusion, I believe Denver better managed the salary cap with the Keenum signing, and if they don’t ask him to do too much in their offense then they should win this free agent quarterback sweepstakes.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He’s also a contributor to ESPN 101.3 Plattsburgh/Burlington. Follow him @MatthewWords.