Kirk Cousins is the missing piece for a Steelers with new OC Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith is going to change the offense in Pittsburgh, and Kirk Cousins is the guy who would help the Steelers take the next step.

Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Now that Arthur Smith is in town as the next offensive coordinator, many fans have been wondering if the Pittsburgh Steelers could actively search for a new quarterback who would be an ideal fit for Smith's offense.

While Arthur Smith might not have been your favorite candidate as the new OC, there's no question that things are going to look very different on offense in 2024. Smith loves to run heavy personnel. This comes mostly under center. Along with running a zone and wide-zone scheme on the offensive line, Smith loves to get the defense flowing in one direction before routinely pulling out the play-action pass.

This style of offense that is new to Pittsburgh is something that both Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph are completely unfamiliar with. Many football analysts have insisted that a Pickett-Rudolph battle is not the answer the Steelers need, and Rudolph isn't currently even under contract.

Steelers could eye Kirk Cousins in free agency

Early in the offseason, there have been whispers that Kirk Cousins could be the guy that Pittsburgh goes after in free agency. Recently, Pro Football Focus posed the question on 'X' whether or not the Steelers should target the former Pro Bowl quarterback.

In the graphic, the Steelers were listed alongside two other teams -- the Falcons and the Raiders -- that Cousins could potentially sign with during the 2024 free-agency period. As you may know, Cousins has been franchised tagged twice by Minnesota, and the Vikings cannot do anything to prevent him from hitting the market.

Cousins' fit in Pittsburgh is all too easy to see. The 6'3'' quarterback has played in similar offenses, and he's not afraid to turn his back to the defense on play-action passes -- something Ben Roethlisberger admitted he did not like to do. Cousins' accuracy and ability to operate off play-action would be tailor-made for Arthur Smith's wide-zone offense.

There's no doubt that this would offer a sizeable boost to Pittsburgh's offense in 2024, but two questions remain: How much will Cousins cost, and do the Steelers want to go after him in free agency?

How much would Kirk Cousins cost in free agency?

Cousins is the top free agent set to hit the market this year, and you don't often get the chance to bite on a quarterback of his caliber. However, acquiring his services won't come cheap.

Unlike in a trade, the Steelers would not have to give up valuable draft capital to bring him to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, they could find themselves in a bidding war with several other teams. According to Spotrac.com, Cousins' estimated market value is $39.3 million per year on his new contract.

This is reasonable enough for what the Steelers would be getting, but he's going to be looking for a ton of guaranteed money (which could make it more difficult to move his cap number around). Still, this is a gamble that could instantly pay off.

Steelers should go all-in for Cousins

The toughest question to answer is whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers would be interested in throwing truckloads of money at a 35-year-old quarterback who is coming off an Achilles injury. There's always a risk that Cousins' play could drop off drastically at his age or that he isn't as good in a new system.

Regardless, there's no doubt that he would be an improvement over what the Steelers currently have. Kenny Pickett can't be trusted to turn things around -- even with a new scheme and offensive coordinator -- while we've seen enough of Rudolph over the years to know that he's not the QB that is going to lead this team to a Super Bowl.

Unless Pittsburgh wants to trade up high into the first round for a quarterback (which is very unlikely to happen this year), Cousins is the best possible option on the market, and they should pounce at the opportunity to sign him.

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