3 free-agent moves from NFC South rivals that Carolina Panthers fans can laugh at

These could go either way...

Darnell Mooney
Darnell Mooney / Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

Kirk Cousins

As previously stated, the Atlanta Falcons came into the offseason believing they were a quarterback away. Desmond Ridder was living on borrowed time after another indifferent campaign under center. Taylor Heinicke was nothing more than a dependable backup. They needed someone with franchise-caliber credentials capable of taking the team to new heights.

It didn't take long for the Falcons to find their guy. Once the Minnesota Vikings gave up hope of extending Kirk Cousins, a deal was worked out quickly to bring the veteran signal-caller to Atlanta.

Of course, this wasn't going to come cheap. Cousins' agent is a master of using leverage and extracting maximum value from his contracts since getting two straight franchise tags in Washington. This resulted in a four-year, $180 million deal that also included a $50 million signing bonus and $100 million guaranteed.

Cousins has the scope to lead the Falcons back into the playoffs. They might not go much further, but his arrival immediately takes Atlanta to NFC South favorites in the blink of an eye.

However, there is a flip side to this coin. Cousins is heading into his career twilight and coming off a torn Achilles. His game doesn't depend too much on athleticism, but it's still a significant complication to overcome nonetheless.

Only time will tell on that one. But the Carolina Panthers need to worry more about themselves rather than everything going on around the division.