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Report: 49ers offered “way more” than No. 2 pick for Kirk Cousins in 2017

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 15, 2023 at 3:11 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers and their quarterback situation has been something to monitor ever since head coach Kyle Shanahan took over in 2017, with the team going from Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance to Brock Purdy, with several other names in the mix over the years.

One of those names? Quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has a connection with Shanahan dating back to their Washington days, with rumors circulating that the two would reunite upon the head coach's arrival in San Francisco when the signal-caller became a free agent in 2018.

However, the 49ers never reached that stage, instead pulling the trigger on a trade for Garoppolo from the New England Patriots at the 2017 trade deadline for a second-round pick.

Well, that wasn't the full story between the 49ers and Cousins, as recent stories have emerged, suggesting the 49ers were willing to give up the No. 2 pick in 2017 for the quarterback, but Washington didn't consider the offer.

More details are starting to emerge, however, as former Washington head coach Jay Gruden set the record straight on what a potential package for Cousins would've been, had a deal come in place.

"I won't say who contacted me, but I was contacted by someone [in San Francisco] who told me they were very interested," Gruden said on a radio show Thursday. "[Kirk Cousins] was getting ready to go on his second franchise tag, and I know they wanted him. The Shanahans love Kirk and he loves them, and I don't blame them; they brought him in here and taught him some good ball, and we were fortunate to keep Kirk and work with him."

Washington eventually let Cousins walk for nothing in free agency in 2018, when he joined the Minnesota Vikings, which has been his team ever since.

But, they could've potentially gotten a significant haul for Cousins, according to Gruden, who revealed the package would've involved way more than just the No. 2 pick.

"They would've given up way more than [just the No. 2 pick]," Gruden said. "You're talking about a $150 million quarterback. You're going to get two [first-round picks] and a player, or two ones and a [second-round pick]. You look at all the teams that are struggling, what don't they have? He had opportunities to go to San Francisco, the Jets, Minnesota. We could've traded him and made our team better. Instead, we got a compensatory third-round pick. It makes no sense."

So, why didn't a deal come into place with the 49ers?

Gruden believes that it was due to the disdain that owner Daniel Snyder and president Bruce Allen had towards the Shanahans, which led to the team keeping the quarterback, allowing him to walk in free agency, which only gave Washington a compensatory third-rounder in return.

"[Snyder and Allen] didn't like the Shanahans and didn't want them to get Kirk. It's a shame. We had such a hot commodity, a young talented player with a bright future ahead of him, and we got nothing for him. That's the worst decision we made as a franchise. A conditional third-rounder? The way to handle that is to maximize your return."

That would've certainly been a major swing for the 49ers, and would've ultimately changed the direction of the entire franchise, had the monumental move occurred.
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