Unpopular Opinions  


Unpopular Opinions: Kirk Cousins, Browns perfect for each other


Listen, I don't try to live my life as a contrarian. That's not true -- I kind of do. I spend a lot of time in public houses and taverns, and I have a two-hour commute that allows me to hear a lot of the sports world's most popular opinions. Sometimes, I think it's best to take a look at the other side.

In this space, I'll be articulating a handful of positions that are the opposite of what most people think -- unpopular opinions, if you will -- and explain why, well, my unpopular opinions are right and everyone else is wrong.

UNPOPULAR OPINION: Kirk Cousins should go to the Cleveland Browns.

I know -- I hate telling people what they should do. I don't like when people tell me what to do. I'm going out to Arizona for Spring Training in a few weeks. Any time I bring it up, nearly everybody has a suggestion of something I MUST do or see or eat while I'm out there.

"Oh, you'll be in Tempe? You have to check out this place I've discovered called Portillo's."

Yes, thanks for the tip on your secret spot. Like there wasn't one on Golf Road in Schaumburg (near the mall) where I lived the first four years of my life. I know Portillo's. Back off.

So, I don't want to be That Guy ... but I'm excited for Cousins to get his opportunity to test the free-agent market. How often does a top-15 quarterback in his prime just jump into free agency? (Well, if he does. Don't laugh. The NFL is a copycat league. The Eagles just won a Super Bowl with two starting-caliber quarterbacks on their roster. Maybe Washington wants to follow suit. Unlikely, but you never know in this wacky sport. OK, maybe in this instance, we do know. But I digress.)

It's exciting for Cousins, who undoubtedly will have many options at his disposal. Although one of them won't be a reunion with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, as the 49ers just locked up Jimmy Garoppolo on a record-setting deal. I feel for Cousins there. His fallback date for the prom just asked out a quarterback who is younger and hotter. It's like when Zack shows up at the prom in "She's All That" and Laney Boggs is there with Paul Walker.

But, yeah, I'm sure Cousins has this free agency thing handled. He doesn't need anybody else's help.

Dude, he does want help! (And yep -- this is my new thing. I now take everything on the Internet literally. Especially Twitter. Because you people do this to me all the time.)

If Kirk comes knocking on my door, I point him in one direction: Cleveland, Ohio.

I know, I know. It's a yearly tradition to tout the Browns' upside potential in the offseason. My esteemed colleague Dan Hanzus was in earshot when I mentioned this and he nearly sprained his eyes rolling them so hard. I get it. I'm surprised there isn't a Google alert on your phone for Browns fluff.

But Kirk, we're doing Cleveland. It's time to return to your Midwest roots.

I know what most of you readers are thinking ...

Bro, he's going to Denver. Nope.

Yes, the Broncos recently enjoyed success by signing another high-profile free-agent quarterback, making two Super Bowls and winning one. So there is a history. Von Miller has been courting Cousins on social media, often with the same desperation Lloyd Dobler had when he held that boom box over his head outside of Diane Court's house in "Say Anything" years ago. (We just had Valentine's Day weekend -- it wouldn't kill you to see something other than a superhero flick. Look for this on your streaming services.)

But the expectations are too high in the Mile High City. Anything less than Lombardi Trophy hoistage will be deemed an utter failure. John Elway is a top-four all-time QB for me, right behind Tom Brady and Joe Montana and just ahead of Randall Cunningham (don't @ me). That's a lot of pressure. It's one thing to have to answer to a software giant, or a guy who built an empire of big-box retail stores. It's quite another to answer to a guy who wears a gold jacket every August. Plus, Elway ran poor Tim Tebow out of town for having the audacity to win a playoff game. The only QB he's ever loved, it seems, is Brock Osweiler.

Another option for Cousins could be the Vikings, but you don't want that, because Aaron Rodgers is back in Green Bay, and the Bears are building the next great dynasty. And let's say you did do well in Minnesota -- you'd just be a guy replacing another successful guy. Like Jason Patric in "Speed 2." Or Mark Ruffalo taking over as The Hulk. Oh wait, that was an upgrade. No matter -- don't ruin my narrative.

Arizona is intriguing because of David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, but you have no idea what that will look like with a new head coach at the helm. And the Jets? Well, they are the Jets. Sorry, Hanzus. You asked for that.

So, it's Cleveland. Joe Thomas feels me.

This isn't a money grab, either. Cleveland boasts a bunch of young talent. And draft picks out the wazoo. (See: six selections in the first 65 draft slots this April.) The offensive line is stout. You have Josh Gordon. This cupboard's anything but bare.

And you saw those celebrations in Philadelphia, right? You win a Super Bowl in Cleveland, and the Browns' parade will make Philly's celebration look like the opening of a Dollar Tree in Parma. You'll be a conquering hero. Half the 2037 graduating class at Roosevelt High in Kent, Ohio, will be named Kirk or Kirkina. The airport ... Well, it probably won't be renamed after you. But you'll have a cool display right here next to Superman. You'll be Kirk Kent, dog. You will be Superman.

This is such an easy call.

Of course, free agency's a two-way street. Player interest must align with team interest. Well ...

UNPOPULAR OPINION: The Cleveland Browns should go all in on Kirk Cousins.

Don't draft a quarterback. Put all the eggs in the Cousins basket in March, then have fun in April.

I know what you want to do, Browns. You really want to sign AJ McCarron and draft Josh Rosen. But please, can you not be the Browns for just, like, a second? Just one time. Make the smart football move here.

Sign the guy who is already a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback. A guy you know can run an NFL offense. You've bought enough spare parts for that rusted-out beater. Instead of throwing good money after bad, just get a new car. Sure, it's been driven -- that just proves it's reliable.

Hear me out here. You sign Cousins. Then draft Saquon Barkley with the No. 1 pick. I know, clutch my pearls ... A running back first overall?? The dude is siiiiick. I've been waiting to put this guy on my fantasy teams ever since I saw him ruin USC in the Rose Bowl a couple seasons ago. And Daniel Jeremiah has him as his top prospect, if you don't want to take my word for it.

Then use the fourth pick on the best player available. Minkah Fitzpatrick, for instance. Take a run at Allen Robinson -- if he shakes free from Jacksonville -- and Jarvis Landry. Suddenly, you have a well-rounded team ready to take on the AFC North for years to come. And you don't have to worry about the quarterback you drafted becoming just another name on that fabled jersey of failed signal-callers.

But you're going to do the McCarron thing, aren't you? Hot damn it. All I can do is tell you what I think. Oh, and if you're in Portillo's in the near future, please try the Italian beef. You'll love it.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @AdamRank.



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