Falcons' Kirk Cousins: Beef over Michael Penix Jr. not helpful

Kirk Cousins said he doesn't believe it's constructive to have hard feelings with his new team over its surprising first-round draft pick.

Cousins, the productive veteran quarterback, signed a four-year, $180 million contract with the Falcons in March. Last month, the team stunningly took a quarterback -- Michael Penix Jr. of Washington -- with the No. 8 pick in the draft.

Cousins' agent, Mike McCartney, told ESPN's Pete Thamel at the time that there was confusion and frustration coming from Cousins' camp because the Falcons acquired his successor before he even put on an Atlanta helmet and that the team didn't do anything with its top-10 pick to improve for 2024.

Cousins spoke for the first time about the situation in an interview with the "Bussin' With The Boys" podcast that published Tuesday. When asked whether there was any beef with the Falcons over drafting Penix, Cousins said, "I don't think there can be."

"I don't think it's helpful. We're trying to win a Super Bowl, and it's hard enough. It's hard enough. Let's all be on the same page and try and go win a Super Bowl."

Cousins was asked during availability Tuesday if he would have signed with the Falcons had he known their draft plans.

"I don't really deal in hypotheticals," he said. "We could go down that path for a long time, in a lot of ways. It just doesn't do us any good. So, I'm excited for this opportunity I have. I think it's a real privilege to be a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, and I'm trying to make good on the opportunity given me, with the way I work each day and the way we play this fall."

Cousins, 35, said three years ago that he was golfing on draft night when he played for the Vikings. Klint Kubiak, then the Vikings' offensive coordinator, called him and told him that Minnesota might draft a quarterback. So, Cousins said, he has "understood for a while" that teams are always thinking of succession plans.

"This isn't, like, a foreign concept," Cousins said. "There's an awareness that this is the NFL, anything can happen."

The Falcons start OTAs this week after rookie minicamp last week. Cousins' 2023 season ended in Week 8 when he tore his right Achilles tendon. Falcons coach Raheem Morris said Friday that Cousins is able to be "pretty much full go" with everything the team is able to do at this point of the offseason program.

Cousins said he texted Penix, who took Washington to the national championship game this past season, on draft night. Cousins said he wanted Penix to have his number so he can be a resource to the rookie quarterback.

"And then just congratulated him on an awesome college career," Cousins said. "I lived it. It's hard to do. And what he did is at the top of the top in terms of college success. So, just wanted to let him know that I have the utmost respect for what he's done and we're ready to get to work. And I'm here if he needs me."