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Analysis: Reported move to sign QB Kirk Cousins provides stability Falcons haven't had recently in a spot most necessary for it 

The Falcons have reportedly signed Cousins to a four-year deal worth $180 million. 


Disclaimer: The statements and opinions regarding players and/or potential future players in the article below are those of the editorial staff and are not of the Atlanta Falcons' football personnel unless noted in a direct quote.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Raheem Morris said time and time again over the last two weeks that the organization would be "aggressive" in their hunt for a starting quarterback in 2024. That aggression showed up a few hours into the legal tampering window on Monday afternoon.

Atlanta is reportedly signing former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal valued at $180 million with $100 million fully guaranteed.

It's a move that has been speculated on and tossed around since the Falcons' 2023 season ended. It's a move that is still a couple days away from being official, though. As a reminder: NFL teams cannot officially sign players until the start of the new league year, which is Wednesday, March 13 at 4 p.m. ET. However, it's a move the Falcons made no secret they needed to make.

Despite Cousins coming off a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in 2023, he still provides something the Falcons have missed in recent years: Stability.

To a certain degree, the organization was spoiled with Matt Ryan. From the moment the Falcons drafted Ryan with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the quarterback position in Atlanta was as stable and consistent as any situation in the league. It was that way for more than a decade.

It's not a stability many franchises ever have the luxury of being. In this league, stability is not a foregone conclusion. For 14 seasons in Atlanta, though? The Falcons experienced stability.

However, in the two years since Ryan's departure following the 2021 season, stability is not a word used to describe quarterback play in Atlanta.

For every game Ryan missed in his tenure as a Falcon (three), that's how many different starting quarterbacks the Falcons tried to replace Ryan's stability with in the two seasons following the trade that sent the veteran quarterback to the Indianapolis Colts.

Marcus Mariota was brought in on a two-year deal when the Falcons took on one of the largest dead money hits in NFL history in 2022 when trading Ryan. In the same offseason, the Falcons drafted Desmond Ridder in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Mariota started that season, but Ridder finished it.

The Falcons parted ways with Mariota prior to the start of the 2023 league year. In free agency, they signed Taylor Heinicke, with the expectation that he would be Ridder's backup. Ridder started that season, but for all intensive purposes, Heinicke finished it, starting two of the final three games before missing the finale with an injury.

It's a moving turnstile at the quarterback position the Falcons needed to slow in 2024. From the jump, that was always the goal. With Cousins, he may provide the stability the Falcons have been missing since the days of Ryan.

There's a lot that can -- and will -- be said about Cousins, but for 12 seasons in the league one cannot dismiss that he has been consistent under center. First for Washington, then for Minnesota. Now, the Falcons hope to add themselves to that list, while also expanding Cousins' resume, too. Only two teams led by Cousins as the starting quarterback for the majority of the season have broken the double-digit wins mark (the Vikings in 2019 and 2022). Cousins is also just 1-4 in playoff games in his career. He -- like Atlanta, a team that hasn't been in the postseason since 2017 -- is looking to improve that record.

However, just looking at Cousins as a quarterback alone, one cannot overlook the stability he afforded the organizations he has played for. For more than a decade, Cousins has put together a completion percentage that lands at 66.9%. For reference, Ryan's completion percentage through his first 12 seasons in the league was 65.4% while Matthew Stafford's was 62.6%. According to Pro Football Reference, Cousins ranks fourth in completion percentage among all active quarterbacks. Cousins has also spent six seasons of his career top-10 in passes completed and passing touchdowns.

His insertion into this Falcons roster immediately puts stability back into the position. It's a stability the Falcons haven't had in a spot that is most necessary for it.

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