Steelers Rumors: Pittsburgh is one of two teams Kirk Cousins is eyeing in free agency

Kirk Cousins, Steelers
Kirk Cousins, Steelers / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

You better believe that the talk of the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason is about to center around the quarterback position. After Kenny Pickett underwhelmed in Year 2, it was third-string QB Mason Rudolph who led this team down the stretch, and when Pickett didn't get his job back after being deemed healthy enough to play following his ankle injury, it was a bad sign for the former first-round pick.

We know that Mike Tomlin has spoken highly of Pickett on his post-season press conference, but he wasn't about to throw his draft selection under the bus. After Pickett has recorded 13 touchdown passes, 5.8 adjusted yards per attempt, and a 78.8 passer rating in 25 games entering Year 3, the Steelers know this won't be enough to make a serious push in the playoffs.

For this reason, Justin Fields trade talks have been heating up, and the Steelers are now the odds-on favorites to land the Bears quarterback via trade this offseason. But Fields isn't the only notable signal-caller linked to Pittsburgh.

Recently, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk caught up with 93.7 The Fan where he discussed the possibility of Kirk Cousins joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024. Florio believes this is realistic.

"I was talking to some people last week who seem to be intrigued by the possibility of the Steelers making a play for Kirk Cousins. And those people were very close to, if not within, the Kirk Cousins camp. There’s an acknowledgment that it could happen. The Falcons and the Steelers are the two teams that I think the Cousins camp is keeping an eye on."

Mike Florio via 93.7 The Fan

Interestingly, the Falcons are rumored to be the other team in the mix for Cousins. It just so happens that Atlanta seems to be the other team that could be in serious play for Justin Fields.

If the Falcons drive a hard bargain to the Bears to acquire Fields, does that make the Pittsburgh Steelers the most likely landing spot for Cousins? It's hard to say. What's not hard is to see how well Cousins would fit into Arthur Smith's offense.

During his five years as an offensive play-caller in the NFL (two as the Titans' OC and three as the Falcons' HC), the best quarterback play Smith received was from Ryan Tannehill. In 2019 and 2020, Tannehill surprisingly proved to be one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL.

Kirk Cousins would be a massive upgrade for Steelers

There's little question that Kirk Cousins is a better player than Tannehill -- pretty much at any point of his career. He's one of the best quarterbacks from the pocket, as he possesses incredible touch and accuracy on the football.

If the price is right, it's not hard to see this as a situation that makes sense for both parties. While Pittsburgh's young offense still has improving to do, Cousins could come to a team with quality skill players and a good defense could give him a shot to compete for a championship.

More importantly than the fit, it's the money that talks. If the Pittsburgh Steelers are willing to throw more money at him than teams like the Falcons or Vikings, that could be all it takes. Of course, Omar Khan has plenty of work to do to free up salary cap space by the start of free agency, but moves can be made to make this happen.

Kirk Cousins is 35 years old and is coming off an Achilles injury he suffered early in the 2023 season, but he has graded out as a top-10 quarterback in three straight years, according to Pro Football Focus, and has recorded a passer rating of 103.0 or higher in 4 of the past 5 seasons. There's no question his presence would immediately make the Steelers significantly better.