Bucs could trade for Kirk Cousins in 2022 if Tom Brady retires

(Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins /

If Tom Brady retires after the 2021 season, don’t rule out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers possibly making a trade to acquire Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2022.

Luckily for Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings, they don’t have to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the upcoming final four weeks of the 2021 season. If they did have to take on Tom Brady and the Bucs before the end of the regular season, the Vikings’ attempt to get into the playoffs would definitely be a lot tougher.

Brady and Tampa Bay are currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a 10-3 record and a legitimate path to becoming the first team to earn back-to-back Super Bowl wins since Brady and the New England Patriots did it in 2004.

So what happens if the Bucs go on to win this season’s Super Bowl? Would the 44-year-old quarterback actually retire? If Brady does decide to hang it up after the current season, could Tampa then become a team that develops an interest in trading for Cousins in 2022?

Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could trade for Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins in 2022

If Tampa wins the Super Bowl in February and Brady decides to walk off into the sunset, the Bucs will suddenly become a team in need of a new starting quarterback.

Kyle Trask is currently the only other signal-caller on Tampa’s roster that is under contract in 2022. So if they aren’t interested in making the 2021 second-round pick their next starter, the Bucs will likely turn to free agency or the trade market to find Brady’s immediate replacement.

That’s where Cousins comes into play.

Minnesota’s current cap situation for 2022 has them opening up next year’s offseason more than $7 million over the cap. So the Vikings will be looking for some ways to clear cap space in 2022 and trading Cousins is one way to do that.

If Minnesota fires head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman after the 2021 season, the team trading Cousins seems like an even greater possibility. Especially since the move would free up $35 million in cap space.

Unlike the Vikings, the Bucs are currently set to begin the 2022 offseason with plenty of cap space. Tampa is expected to have more than $32 million in cap space next year, so they are already close to being able to afford a trade for Cousins whether Brady’s retirement would create more spending money or not.

Cousins has been playing at a high level this season and a team like the Bucs might view him as someone who could allow them to remain contenders in the NFC after Brady retires.

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Obviously, all of this depends on Brady retiring or not in 2022. If he doesn’t, then Cousins won’t be going to Tampa. But if Brady retires, the Bucs are a team that absolutely should not be ruled out as a potential landing spot for Cousins next year.