Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins has a new home. And he also has a new number.

One week after Cousins announced that he’ll be joining the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback’s new team announced what number he’ll be wearing. According to the Falcons’ official X (formerly Twitter) account, Cousins will be wearing No. 18 in Atlanta.

Cousins’ new number comes as somewhat of a surprise, as he had previously publicly stated his desire to continue wearing No. 8. The 35-year-old signal-caller had worn No. 8 during his time at Holland Christian High School, Michigan State, the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings, before agreeing to terms with the Falcons on a four-year, $180 million contract last week.

But if Cousins was going to wear the same number that he’s worn for the past 10 years — he initially wore No. 12 during his first two seasons in Washington before switching numbers — it was going to take some negotiating. And while Kyle Pitts has worn No. 8 for the past three seasons with the Falcons, Cousins indicated at his introductory press conference that the former Florida tight end had already expressed a willingness to give his new quarterback the number.

“I said, ‘I’ll write a check, a foundation, whatever. I’m not going to let you just give me the number. I want to make it worth your while. I’ll make a donation, whatever it needs to be,'” Cousins said of his conversation with Pitts regarding the No. 8. “He just said, ‘I just want targets every game.’ He was joking, he kind of winked. I joked with him I said, ‘Good answer.'”

As it turns out, either such an agreement couldn’t be reached, or perhaps the NFL’s restrictions regarding number changes came into play. In any event, Cousins will be wearing a new number than the one he’s most familiar with as he begins his career with the Falcons.

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.