Now that the Patriots staff is coming together, particularly the offensive coaches, the speculation about what they may decide to do about their quarterback situation is becoming the dominating conversation.
With Alex Van Pelt on board as the next offensive coordinator and Ben McAdoo in as an offensive assistant, Jerod Mayo has stacked his staff with quarterback gurus who will likely be and should be heavily involved in deciding the best direction for the position.
There has been a lot of talk about the Patriots taking a quarterback with the third overall pick since it is a prime spot to get the next franchise player. However, signing a veteran player in free agency to run the offense for the next season or two isn't off the table. This opens up the possibility of taking a top offensive lineman or wide receiver at the top of the draft or trading down to acquire more selections.
If that's the route they decide to take, they'll have to evaluate a few intriguing free agency options, one of which is Kirk Cousins.
The 35-year-old is considered the best of the free agent class this offseason despite coming off an injury that prematurely ended his 2023 season. It has been reported that the Vikings would ideally like to re-sign Cousins, who has been one of their more successful players throughout the last decade or so. But they are aware they could lose him to a bidding war with so many teams needing a quarterback.
NFL insiders Mike Garafolo, Tom Pelissero, and Ian Rapoport discussed what Minnesota will face next month, noting they are already preparing for the possibility that Cousins will sign elsewhere for the 2024 season.
"The Vikings want to re-sign Kirk Cousins, who is set to hit free agency in March for the first since 2018. But Cousins is expected to have a strong market, even coming off a torn Achilles as he enters his age-36 season, and Minnesota is evaluating all options in the event Cousins lands elsewhere.
If the price tag gets too high, the Vikings likely would pursue a more economical veteran and hope that player becomes this year’s Baker Mayfield -- current 49ers backup Sam Darnold, among others, would make sense -- while also potentially drafting a QB. (Minnesota owns the No. 11 overall pick.)"
The Patriots could be the team to steal Kirk Cousins away in free agency
If Mayo decides to bolster the offense through the draft and free agency, signing a veteran quarterback as a bridge instead of drafting the next starter, Cousins could be the guy for the job. Not only is he a sufficient player, but he could also be an excellent mentor to the quarterbacks already on the team and any rookie they may select in this year's draft.
Of the 30 who will be available to sign, he is the most intriguing yet expensive option. Because the Patriots are set to have around $70 million in cap space to spend, they could certainly afford him and outbid the Vikings if it came down to that, especially since they hope to strike a deal with Justin Jefferson and Danielle Hunter.
Snagging a veteran early in the offseason would make navigating the rest of free agency and the draft much easier, even more so for a new head coach.
It may not be the outcome Patriots fans want to see, as most want one of the top rookie quarterbacks to be drafted this year. But improving the offense in its entirety in preparation for a rookie quarterback next year might not be a bad idea.