This is the first of a three-part opinion series related to the Buffalo Bills quarterback position. I have changed my opinion so many times on what the team should do at quarterback that I am even annoying myself.
If the Bills are serious about making a run to the Super Bowl, the team should make a serious push to sign Kirk Cousins as the team’s quarterback for the foreseeable future. While I understand that there are options available in the draft this year, I would prefer an established franchise quarterback to take the reins in Buffalo.
Cousins offers the statistics that many Bills fans clamor for throughout the season. With a top-10 rating in yards, completion percentage, yards per attempt, passing touchdowns, and yards per game – Cousins checks the boxes of a franchise quarterback. Cousins has passed for over 4,000 yards in each of his seasons as the starter, and has averaged 27 passing touchdowns. Statistically speaking, these numbers would be welcome by all Bills fans.
Some may ask why the Washington Redskins did not win more games under Cousins, but you can look no further than the team’s struggling defense. The Redskins gave up the 5th-most points per game in each of Cousins three seasons as the starting quarterback. The Redskins also featured one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL, with an average of only 3.6 yards per attempt this season.
The Bills would provide Cousins a relatively stable franchise, with an owner, general manager, and head coach that appear to be aligned for the foreseeable future. Some of the other teams connected to Cousins cannot say the same, most notably the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, and New York Jets. The Bills also come of the team’s first playoff appearance in 17 seasons, when the perception of the team is the most positive that it has been in years.
While some may question the weapons that the team has, I would argue that the team has plenty of options to appeal to Cousins. LeSean McCoy is still one of the top running backs in the league, while Kelvin Benjamin would serve as a big-bodied number 1 receiver. Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary are talented tight ends, who could be reliable targets for Cousins in the same fashion as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis.
Signing Cousins would also allow the Bills to keep their draft picks, rather than paying a king’s ransom to move up for a rookie quarterback. With four picks in the first two rounds, the Bills could address other needs that the team has at linebacker, cornerback, defensive tackle, and right tackle. These picks allow the Bills to secure relatively low-cost talent at positions of need, as opposed to taking a gamble on a rookie quarterback.
Despite the high cost it would take to sign Kirk Cousins, I would be in favor of the move. The chance to sign a franchise quarterback is an opportunity that does not come along too often in today’s NFL. Cousins is still only 29 years old, and could be the face of the Bills franchise for years to come.