Should Bears pursue Kirk Cousins to mentor Fields or Williams?
Brace Hemmelgam - USA Today Sports

Should Bears pursue Kirk Cousins to mentor Fields or Williams?

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - From the perspective of quarterback Kirk Cousins, it does not seem like he wants to leave Minnesota. He had control over that during this season because he had a no-trade clause in his contract. But now that he is set to become an unrestricted free agent unless the Vikings give him a deal. Would it make sense for Chicago to look at bringing in Cousins?

The philosophy of having a young quarterback learn for a few years under a veteran has definitely been successful on other NFL teams, particularly the Green Bay Packers much to the dismay of Bears fans. But what if the Bears tried this strategy with Cousins? He has the talent to keep Chicago in contention for a few years.

First, going the Cousins route would pretty much signify getting rid of Justin Fields. It might not make a whole lot of sense to bring Cousins in to mentor Fields when he already has multiple years of starting experience in the NFL. Chicago could get some picks from trading Fields, which would not be a bad idea since they only have six draft picks going into the draft.

So, the Bears could use these picks, get a young quarterback in the first round of the draft, and use their other first-round pick for an elite receiver. They could even still trade back two picks if they are not interested in drafting Caleb Williams and have someone else in mind, such as Heisman-winner Jayden Daniels, who was a starter for four years in college; he is being projected as the No. 3 pick. Trading back would also give the Bears more draft picks, including a first-rounder in 2025.

The biggest drawback to that approach is the Bears surely would not land Marvin Harrison Jr, but they could try to address their wide receiver issue in the offseason by picking up someone like Tee Higgins and then drafting a receiver that needs more development later in the draft.

Getting Cousins would allow the rookie quarterback - whether it be Williams or Daniels or even Drake Maye from Mitch Trubisky’s alma mater, North Carolina - to learn from a veteran who has been in the league since 2012. With him, receiver DJ Moore, tight end Cole Kmet and another receiver from the draft, the Bears could really be a contender so this move also would not compromise their playoff chances in any way. Having a rookie learn about playing in a playoff atmosphere would be an added bonus.

There is no major problem with making this plan work - money. Cousins played on a one-year $35 million contract last season, which ultimately had a lesser cap hit because of his torn Achilles about halfway through the season. Ever since his rookie contract came to an end in 2015, he has made at least $19.9 million every season, making over $20 million every year since 2017 and over $30 million the last two seasons. According to Spotrac, he should be making at least $39 million next season given his performance and contracts quarterbacks of similar age have received. There is no way the Bears are going to pay $39 million for a quarterback, especially when they are also drafting a rookie. In addition, that would prevent them from many any other offseason transactions without cutting potentially significant players to make room on the salary cap because with his $39 million plus the projected nearly $11 million it will cost to draft players, according to Spotrac based on their current draft picks and thus not considering any additional picks they may get, they would be over the cap.

While this is an avenue they could potentially pursue, it does not seem financially feasible for them to do so. Most likely, either they will stick with Fields or trade him and the rookie they draft will be the starter in 2024.

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