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Kirk Cousins’ 2024 Offseason Destination: Predictions from NFL Players at Super Bowl 58

What team will Kirk Cousins land with this offseason? NFL players weigh in

Will quarterback Kirk Cousins return to Minnesota or find a new home in 2024? We asked NFL players at Super Bowl 58 what they thought.

The NFL’s 2024 offseason is officially here and, for several teams, the glass seems ready to overflow with opportunities to improve.

In a league set up to foster parity – and the Super Bowl 58 participant Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers don’t appear to have the resources to manage much beyond keeping their respective cores intact – quite a few clubs possess the assets to start significantly closing the gap, while a select number could be poised to further upgrade into even more serious contenders for Super Bowl 59.

Here are 10 squads perched to make a lot of noise over the next few months, their impactful outlooks ranked from substantial to potentially league-altering (note: salary cap projections courtesy Over The Cap):

10. Green Bay Packers

The league’s youngest team last season, the arrow is decidedly pointed up after new leader of the Pack Jordan Love guided this group to a surprise appearance in the postseason’s divisional round. GM Brian Gutekunst will get even more talented pieces in the draft, stocked with an extra second-rounder from last year’s trade of QB Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets – it would have been a first had he not gotten hurt – plus an additional third-rounder courtesy of shipping CB Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Bills at last year’s trade deadline. The Packers rarely pursue top-of-the-market free agents and, given their lack of salary cap space, no reason to expect that will change this year. However it would make sense to re-sign All-Pro return man Keisean Nixon, who also became the starting slot cornerback in 2023.

9. Philadelphia Eagles

A team looking to get to top of the NFC East may have to do so without a huge leadership void if C Jason Kelce, DE Brandon Graham and DT Fletcher Cox all move on. The Eagles, who need to get QB Jalen Hurts right in 2024, currently have roughly $19 million to spend in free agency, pick 22nd overall and own an extra second-rounder thanks to a pre-draft trade with the New Orleans Saints two years ago.

8. New York Giants

A team looking to get to top of the NFC East may have to do so without free agent RB Saquon Barkley. The Giants, who need to get QB Daniel Jones right in 2024, currently have roughly $19 million to spend in free agency, pick sixth overall and own an extra second-rounder after dealing DL Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks at last year’s trade deadline.

7. Tennessee Titans

Lots of work ahead as they move on from the Mike Vrabel/Ryan Tannehill/Derrick Henry era. Lots can be accomplished with the seventh and 38th picks of the draft plus more than $65 million in cap space.

6. New England Patriots

Lots of work ahead as they move on from the Bill Belichick era. Lots can be accomplished with the third and 34th picks of the draft plus more than $65 million in cap space.

5. Houston Texans

Few expected overnight success, even after they drafted QB C.J. Stroud and DE Will Anderson Jr. – last season’s rookies of the year – but that’s pretty much what occurred for the reigning AFC South champions. Now, armed with nearly $55 million worth of cap space, GM Nick Caserio must decide how aggressive he wants to get boosting the roster around Stroud during the years when his salary is depressed by a rookie contract. That could mean re-signing players like TE Dalton Schultz, RB Devin Singletary, DE Jonathan Greenard and deadeye K Ka’imi Fairbairn. It could also mean extending WR Nico Collins and/or pursuing another target for Stroud … and let’s not forget pending free agent WR Mike Evans is from nearby Galveston, Texas. Caserio also owns the final Round 1 selection obtained in the 2022 trade of QB Deshaun Watson. The Texans do not have their organic first-rounder, but given it’s 27th on the board, sending it to the Cardinals last year in order to get Anderson already looks like a coup.

4. Detroit Lions

A team that finished one win shy of the Super Bowl for only the second time in its beleaguered history won’t be drafting very high on the heels of its NFC championship game berth – and GM Brad Holmes and HC Dan Campbell are fine with that and will have an extra third-rounder (for a draft hosted by Motown) thanks to the 2022 trade of TE T.J. Hockenson. The Lions also have nearly $45 million in cap space, money that could be used to keep or replace guards Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Jonah Jackson and/or improve in other areas. This could also be the time to extend QB Jared Goff, who’s heading into his walk year, a move that could actually create more financial room to maneuver in the short term. Among teams that qualified for the NFL’s version of the Final Four last season, none of the others has anything close to Detroit’s upward mobility.

3. Arizona Cardinals

With more than $41 million in projected cap space, second-year GM Monti Ossenfort should be in business given his roster is badly in need of reinforcements. But expect him to primarily be in draft-and-develop mode, the Cards seemingly positioned to take the draft’s top non-quarterback (and perhaps best player overall) – maybe Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.? – before selecting again 27th and 35th overall. Ossenfort, who showed himself as a willing on-the-clock wheeler dealer last year, also owns three choices in the third round. A team that seemed to maximize its limited talent in 2023 should have a lot more to work with in 2024.

2. Washington Commanders

With nearly $74 million in the coffers, most in the league, heading into free agency, no team will have more spending power – and that likely wouldn’t diminish much even if CB Kendall Fuller remains. But new GM Adam Peters and HC Dan Quinn should really be able to get their tenure off to a nice start in the draft, where the Commanders are slotted second overall – a spot almost sure to be ticketed for their latest crack at a franchise passer – and also have two picks in Rounds 2 (36th and 40th overall) and 3 following the midseason trades of DEs Montez Sweat and Chase Young.

1. Chicago Bears

The releases of veteran S Eddie Jackson and OL Cody Whitehair last week created even more financial flexibility, GM Ryan Poles now operating with nearly $67 million ahead of free agency – and some portion of that could be earmarked to retain CB Jaylon Johnson. But the draft is what might allow Chicago to fundamentally alter its future trajectory. The first-round pick obtained from the Carolina Panthers last year miraculously turned into the No. 1 selection in 2024 – one that could allow the Bears to take USC’s Caleb Williams or another passer and reset their quarterback contractual clock, while presumably getting value in return for still-promising Justin Fields. Or Chicago could stick with Fields and put two more top-10 picks around him – even if Poles leverages the top pick for a second straight offseason – given Chicago also picks ninth overall. Every reason for Bears fans to expect this offseason to be one that truly charts a course back to long-term relevance.

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Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.

2024-02-20 11:42:29
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