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ESPN predicts impact Kirk Cousins could have on the Arizona Cardinals

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

With the NFL’s new year inching closer, the rumors surrounding free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Arizona Cardinals continue to swirl.

If the Cardinals were able to sign the former Washington Redskins gun-slinger this offseason, what kind of impact would he make?

According to ESPN’s Mike Sando, the Cardinals could see an increase of .8 to 3.1 wins with Cousins leading the offense.

The relatively modest gain in victories on the low end could be misleading. This calculation was made using Carson Palmer’s production from the past three seasons in Arizona. Palmer has retired. For the Cardinals, a modest improvement from Palmer could represent a massive improvement from other quarterbacks that could be available to Arizona.

ESPN conducted a similar study when Carson Palmer left Oakland for Arizona.

Palmer was predicted to increase the Cardinals’ win total by three games, similar to the potential impact of Cousins.

But when he joined the franchise in 2013, the impact was much bigger. Palmer led the Cardinals to a 10-6 record in his first season, a drastic improvement the team’s 5-11 finish the year before.

Sando believes that Cousins has the ability to make the same type of impact Palmer had on Arizona, as well as for other teams vying for his services.

But he can’t help but ask which Kirk Cousins will the NFL see in 2018.

Will it be the Cousins who trails only Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees in Total QBR from 2015 to 2017 among quarterbacks who started all three seasons? Or, will it be the Cousins who ranked 15th in QBR last season, behind Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota and Tyrod Taylor?

Cousins threw for more than 4,000 passing yards each season from 2015 to 2017 while in Washington, averaging a quarterback rating of 97.5.

However, he had a drop in quarterback rating from 2016 to 2017, going from a 97.2 to 93.9.

Despite the drop, Cousins has the tangibles to potentially help each team that remains in the market for a quarterback for the 2018 season.

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