As the Denver Broncos transform, it’s easy to notice how many former NFC North coaches and staff members there are in the Mile High City these days.

The ripple effect began when the Broncos hired George Paton as the team’s General Manager last year, who formerly worked for the Minnesota Vikings. This offseason, the connections have only grown as Paton hired Nathaniel Hackett, the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, as Denver’s new head coach.

Then, Hackett hired Justin Outten as offensive coordinator, also formerly of the Packers. Butch Barry is the outlier, as the new offensive line coach came from the 49ers, and then there’s Klint Kubiak, who was most recently with the Vikings.

Kubiak is a familiar name for two reasons. First and foremost, Gary Kubiak is a coaching legend in the Mile High City. The senior Kubiak was the Broncos’ offensive coordinator from 1995-2008 and then came back as the head coach in 2015-16. That included the Broncos Super Bowl 50 win.

And back in the mid-2000s, Klint Kubiak was in Fort Collins as a Colorado State Rams as a safety. More recently, Klint was in Denver as an offensive assistant in 2016 under his dad, and then in 2017 he was promoted to QBs coach for the final six games of the season. In 2019, he was hired by Minnesota as the QBs coach and then was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2021.

Now, back in Denver, there’s another NFC North name which has been connected to Kubiak and the Broncos; Kirk Cousins.

Last year, the Vikings averaged 25.0 points per game under Kubiak, which was 14th in the league. They were No. 1 in total turnovers (only 13) and No. 1 in interceptions (7) last year.

Those are both positive numbers for the aforementioned Cousins, a journeyman quarterback who has one more year left on his deal in Minnesota. In fact, Cousin’s interception percentage (1.2) was the second-lowest in the NFL last year to only Aaron Rodgers; Cousins knows how to protect the ball.

Overall, Cousins was a mediocre-plus quarterback last year, which was one of his best as a pro. He ranked sixth in average yard per attempt (8.1), fifth in passer rating (103.1), 9th in touchdowns (33) and 14th in QBR (52.4). All of those numbers were markedly better than Teddy Bridgewater’s production last year, meaning Cousins would be a definite upgrade over Bridgewater.

But, is he worth the massive paycheck he makes?

That’s where the possibility of seeing him in Denver in 2022 may come to a crashing halt. Cousins is set to make $35 million this year, the final year of his contract in Minnesota. So, if the Vikings want to move on from him, they’ll have to find a trade partner who is willing and able to take on a massive chunk of that, while the Vikings will likely have to absorb some of it as well.

As it sits right now, the Broncos have $40.3M in cap space. That doesn’t leave much for their own free agents — like Alexander Johnson, Bryce Callahan, Bobby Massie and others — let alone the incoming draft class.

Speaking of, the Broncos would likely send a few late-round draft picks as part of compensation, while also again asking Minnesota to take some of the tab in terms of Cousins’ massive paycheck.

The Broncos brass — including Paton, who knows him well — would have to seemingly be in love with Cousins to leverage so much of this year’s salary cap for a one-year run with the veteran QB. Because, they could trade for him and then lose him next offseason.

But, if Paton believes the Broncos are a QB away from getting into the postseason, he could try to wheel and deal with the Vikings, his former employers.

Meanwhile, a more exciting trade for those residing in Broncos Country is the potential one for the aforementioned Rodgers, also of the NFC North. While Kubiak and Cousins have a close relationship, so do Hackett and Rodgers, who teamed up together for the last three years in Green Bay.

According to Brovada, the Broncos have the best odds (-150) at trading for Cousins, and they are also the odds-on favorite to land Rodgers per Fox Bet, at -110.

Stay tuned as this exciting offseason in Broncos Country continues.