According to a report from ESPN, Washington Redskins backup QB Kirk Cousins is “open to a trade”. This should come as no surprise, because why wouldn’t he be? If he can be traded to a team with an opening at quarterback, why shouldn’t Cousins be interested? Not sure how this is news. I suppose it’s worth mentioning that The Washington Post is reporting today that Cousins himself has not “requested” to be dealt.
Despite the all-around horrendous 2013 season, the ‘Skins are still committed to Robert Griffin III as their franchise cornerstone. He was electrifying in his rookie season, but clearly struggled to recover from the ACL injury he suffered in the 2012 playoffs. The team went just 3-13 in RGIII’s sophomore season, but it isn’t a roster devoid of talent in the least.
Cousins was drafted (somewhat surprisingly) in the 4th round in the same draft as Griffin back in ’12. He’s gotten in to a total of eight regular season games in his two years in the league, and has put up decent numbers. In five games last season, the former Michigan State Spartan completed just over 52 percent of his passes for 854 yards and four TDs with three picks.
So, is there a market out there? Of course. Good quarterbacks don’t grow on trees, and Cousins has plenty of appealing tools, and a reportedly-favorable mental makeup, as well. With the way injuries to starting QBs around the league seemed to pile-up last season, Cousins clearly has a place somewhere. The Oakland Raiders just went through the season with Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin as their starting quarterbacks. Think Cousins isn’t or can’t be better than either of those schmoes? Please.
But what kind of haul can Washington expect to receive in exchange for a largely unproven commodity? It’s not like Cousins has Stafford arm strength or Kaepernick’s physical gifts. He projects as a fairly average pro quarterback, at best, I’d say. While there are tons of teams that could and should have interest, is there a team out there sold enough on Cousins’ potential to fork over something of consequence?
Texans owner Bob McNair has already publicly stated that he’d like to bring in a veteran quarterback to help with the development of whichever quarterback they inevitably draft. But Kirk Cousins has exactly half a season’s worth of games under his belt, so it’s not really accurate to imagine he’d be the guy to help mentor a youngster. He’s a youngster himself, and clearly he’s interested in his own opportunity to lead a team.
I already mentioned Oakland, and the Raiders have the No. 5 overall pick in the upcoming draft. While Houston, Jacksonville and Cleveland are likely all looking at quarterbacks and have picks ahead of the Raiders, there’s still a chance one of the top-tier guys could slip to 5. The Raiders, of course, have a fairly lengthy history of botching high draft picks and haphazardly trading them away (ahem, Carson Palmer), so perhaps they’d be willing to dish-out a third- or fourth-rounder in order to nab Cousins.
The recent history of teams overpaying for QBs with small bodies of work isn’t exactly glowing, either. Guys like Matt Flynn, Matt Cassel and Kevin Kolb each appeared to have something, only to fail almost instantly once other teams paid top dollar to bring them in. Matt Schaub had a fairly successful run with the Texans prior to going up in flames last season, but he didn’t really ever turn into a top-of-the-line player, either.
The Redskins are obviously in the driver’s seat here. They can shop Cousins, and if they don’t like any of the offers out there, there’s no reason they can’t just keep him and have a solid backup for Griffin. RGIII is obviously an injury risk, so perhaps it’s in the Redskins’ best interests to keep Cousins around, anyway. And if they do wind up handing him over in exchange for a mid-round draft choice, they can either pluck a veteran out of the free agency pool or draft another one.
Considering Cousins’ shaky play and the aforementioned history of failed QB acquisitions, I’d steer clear of shelling out something too risky to get him. But if a 7th-rounder is good enough to get it done? Cousins is worth the shot for a team in need.