Souhan: How did ‘Cousins will stay in Minnesota’ become a hot take?

I rewatched the "Quarterback" documentary again this week. Not so much for the football insights as in the hope that it could help me with my stock picks.

Has a documentary ever been so prescient?

The Netflix series highlighted three NFL quarterbacks: the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, the Vikings' Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota, then of the Falcons.

What we learned from the show was that Mahomes' genius is rooted in a competitive obsessiveness that prompts him to go through a full day of work at the Chiefs facility, then conduct his own training off-site performing grueling drills that enable him to make what look like magical throws.

And that Cousins' durability was rooted in his intense rehabilitation sessions.

And that the Falcons have no idea what they're doing at the quarterback position, as evidenced by them thinking that Mariota could be the answer to any question.

So what happened in the season following the documentary?

Mahomes won his third Super Bowl, this time without any above-average wide receivers, by being clutch and creative and one of the greatest competitors we've ever seen.

Cousins finally suffered a serious injury, tearing his Achilles tendon in late October, then had to rely on those intense rehabilitation sessions to recover so he could become one of the most intriguing figures in the NFL's offseason.

The Falcons once again went through a disappointing season with a variety of subpar quarterbacks, got their coach fired and are again looking for a starting quarterback, with Cousins becoming an obvious target.

Which leads us into the heart of the NFL's speculation season, that time of year when talking heads overreact to every rumor, sources lie and analysts issue a new mock draft every 26.8 seconds.

Much of what passes for analysis this time of year in the NFL is a blend of that which is obvious, that which could be possible and that which causes fans to react emotionally.

In Vikingdom, that means we get to hear rumors about Cousins signing with Atlanta.

Could that happen? Sure.

Will that happen? Not in a sensible world.

Why has the rumor persisted? Because Cousins and his representatives have always been good at leverage.

Cousins is a good NFL quarterback who became one of the greatest financial success stories in league history.

Because there are so many quality quarterbacks in the draft, and the Bears are likely to trade Justin Fields to one of the quarterback-needy teams, there aren't many quarterback-needy teams who will be interested in Cousins in free agency.

Atlanta is a logical place for him in that the Falcons have a reasonable amount of offensive talent and could pay Cousins a reasonable amount of money.

The Vikings could offer Cousins $90 million or so on a two-year deal, which is likely more than other teams would spend on him, and actually benefit in the strange world of the NFL salary cap.

If Cousins leaves as a free agent, they would take a salary cap hit of $28.5 million in dead money. If the Vikings sign him, they could structure his deal in a way that clears money from their 2024 cap and makes it easier to sign Justin Jefferson and Danielle Hunter.

One of the popular talking-head theories this month is that the Falcons are a good landing spot for Cousins because of their offensive talent.

Bijan Robinson is better than all of the Vikings' current running backs, but the Falcons have no one like Jefferson, and T.J. Hockenson is a better tight end than the Falcons' Kyle Pitts.

The Vikings' head coach, Kevin O'Connell, is a talented offensive strategist with a strong relationship with Cousins. O'Connell's record as an NFL head coach is 20-14.

The Falcons' new head coach is Raheem Morris, a defensive coach with a head coaching record in the NFL of 21-38.

The most popular rumor about Cousins in the national media should be that he will stay in Minnesota. But what fun would that be during speculation season?