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Steelers Named Top Fit for Kirk Cousins

Could the Pittsburgh Steelers be the ideal landing spot for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason?



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kirk Cousins

The Pittsburgh Steelers seem content with giving Kenny Pickett another shot at becoming their next quarterback based on public comments and actions. But that has not stopped the national media from speculating about upgrades they could make, and the biggest splash they could make this offseason would be to add Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Despite coming off a torn Achilles, Cousins has improved over his years as a quarterback, and is undoubtedly the top option on the market.

But that does not mean Pittsburgh is interested, as they want to give Pickett another chance and have publicly expressed a desire to re-sign Mason Rudolph. But on Thursday, Sports Illustrated named Cousins’ top landing spot the Steelers.

“The Steelers need a proven quarterback, and they have plenty to offer Cousins with a talented group of skill players and a coach in Mike Tomlin, who has had a winning season for 17 consecutive years. Outside of the 49ers, the Steelers make the most sense roster wise, and they could make a serious financial offer. Pittsburgh’s cap space issues aren’t as dire as San Francisco’s, since the Steelers can cut a handful of veteran players who aren’t in their long-term plans. For example, the Steelers can cut wide receiver Allen Robinson to easily create $10 million in cap space. They’re currently $13.8 million over the salary cap,” they wrote.

According to Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press, Cousins wants $90 million guaranteed in a two-year contract.

“Buzz now is that it will take $90 million guaranteed for two years, despite that he’s still not yet fully recovered from Achilles surgery in November, to sign [Cousins],” Walters wrote.

Pittsburgh did clear some cap space with the releases of Mitch Trubisky and Chuks Okorafor. Okorafor was the big move, opening up $8.75 million in cap space, while Trubisky’s release saved the team about $2.9 million. Harvin, who was still on his rookie contract, did not contribute much cap savings in his release. After roster displacement, the Steelers are are still about $5.4 million over the salary cap heading into free agency, so they still have work to do to get salary cap compliant.

In addition to their current offseason deficiency, the Steelers will need to clear up nearly another $20 million between March and the start of the season in order to sign their rookie class, a practice squad, account for players on injured reserve and other moves that must happen before the start of the season. All told, the Steelers are still functionally about $24.4 million over the cap after Monday’s moves.

That makes a deal with Cousins very unlikely, though there would always be workarounds that they could employ. But given all the comments this offseason so far, a guy like Cousins coming in seems unlikely.