DENVER -- Chicken Little and The Boy Who Cried Wolf claim sources told them Kirk Cousins doesn’t want play for the Broncos.
The sky is falling on Dove Valley today.
John Elway must be so angst-ridden (sarcasm dripping onto computer keys), just as he was six years ago this month when similar ill-advised doomsayers predicted free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning never would sign with the Broncos, preferring the Titans, who were prepared to make a Publisher’s Clearinghouse kind of offer -- $25 million a year for life – and the mighty 49ers, who had finished 13-3 the previous season and was considered a prime Super Bowl candidate in 2012. (Sounds like the Vikings of 2018.)
But Broncos’ fanatics are truly frantic – and divided, as they generally are.
They think the world, as the Broncos know it, is approaching an end.
There, there, now.
It’s understandable why Cousins -- who will become the highest-player in the history of the NFL no matter where he lands in a private jet because the money proposals will be virtually the same – would choose the Vikings. He’s tired of being with an average team and wants to win at least a playoff game soon and a championship or several before his career concludes. The Vikings qualify. The Broncos don’t exactly. Kirk would play at least nine games a year indoors (the Lions also have a domed stadium).
Minnesota is only separated by one state from Michigan, where he lived and played high school and college football, and he’s a Midwestern kind of family guy (wife and young son born last September). Son and grandson of pastors, Cousins, who has a strong commitment to his Christian values, might feel more comfortable in Minnesota than the wilds of Colorado. He is anti-marijuana. Hint.
And even though the Broncos are still rumored to possess a top-five defense, the Vikings’ defense is superior. No offense, but the Broncos have no offense, and the Vikings’ offense, led by backup Case Keenum, did reach the NFC Championship. The Broncos are some ways away, Elway would admit, from going back to the playoffs.
Cousins also wouldn’t have to be placed in that Elway-Manning quarterback comparison quarrel. Nobody in Minneapolis or St. Paul will allude to Fran Tarkenton if Cousins plays there.
Amazon might not choose Denver, either, but that doesn’t make us bad people. Denver isn’t (stick the name of any of 350 cities here; I’m not in the mood to get thousands of emails from paranoid citizens).
However, here’s what I genuinely believe, and the opinions have been assisted by conversations with NFL personnel who actually exist and are intelligent:
Nobody, including Cousins, knows what he will do. He has acknowledged he would visit teams (note the plural) and do his due diligence before making a decision, and the son of a preacher man is not a liar. I suspect he’ll come to Broncos’ headquarters, as he did before the 2012 draft, out of respect for Elway – especially if Manning and Mike Shanahan (who drafted and coached him) were to spend time with Cousins.
Anyone would like a free trip to Colorado. Ask Texans.
The Broncos may be behind the Vikings, but they are ahead of the Jets.
And the failure to sign Cousins does not mean the Broncos fall off the edge of the Earth, despite what Kyrie Irving feels.
Elway has many quarterback options.
Gary Kubiak, the Man With No Title but with power, signed the undrafted Case Keenum out of college and even eventually elevated him to the Texans’ starter. Keenum hasn’t forgotten.
At the NFL combine the Broncos interviewed seven quarterbacks – Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Luke Falk and Mason Rudolph.
They may have fallen in love – and will be able to select one of them at No. 5.
(Allen remains my choice, but he continues to rise above the Broncos’ position in the draft.)
Meanwhile, they can sign a veteran quarterback, such as Josh McCown, or trade for Tyrod Taylor, and either could start until the youngster is ready.
Or they can try to acquire Nick Foles from the Eagles (who want more than a first-rounder and a fourth-rounder).
However, in spite of dire warnings, the Cousins Chase is not over until, well, it’s over. Manning said a couple of years ago to The Nashville Tennessean that he was “pretty close” to signing with the Titans.