The Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings are reportedly the finalists to land Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins when he becomes a free agent March 14.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the updated list of contenders Saturday morning.
The Redskins are set to move forward with Alex Smith as their new starting quarterback after they reached a trade agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs in January. That deal can become official March 14, the first day of the new league year.
Though Schefter previously reported the Redskins were considering a plan to franchise-tag Cousins and try to trade him, that hasn't happened. It would be a risky move since the quarterback could avoid signing the tag, which would prevent a deal with another team from being finalized and force the front office to work around an estimated $34.5 million cap hit.
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In addition, Kimberley A. Martin of the Washington Post reported in that case, Cousins would file a grievance against the team and could argue it had "no intention of engaging in good-faith negotiations on a long-term deal."
So, the most likely scenario is that Cousins will hit the open market in less than two weeks. None of the teams mentioned as reported finalists for his services were a surprise.
The 29-year-old Michigan State product is coming off a season in which he completed 64.3 percent of his throws for 4,093 yards and 27 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. His 93.9 passer rating ranked 12th in the NFL.
Denver, Arizona and Minnesota feature the other necessary pieces besides a quarterback to contend for a championship, while New York has the most cap space among the group. Per Spotrac, the Jets have $94.9 million available.