When the Washington Redskins selected Kirk Cousins in the 2012 NFL draft, many heads were scratched. It’s not very often that you see a team select a quarterback after already picking one in the top five of the same draft, but this is one case where it appears to have been a great decision.
Cousins proved his value as a starter last season. He looked impressive in a decisive victory over the Cleveland Browns, and he led an overtime victory against the Baltimore Ravens after Robert Griffin III was injured late in the fourth quarter of the game.
Now that he’s proven himself as a quality player, Cousins deserves to start in the NFL, which makes him an interesting bargaining chip down the road for the Redskins. Of course, Cousins won't start in Washington as long as RG3 is on two legs, and his recovery paints a pretty hopeful picture that he will be able to stay on the field.
Cousins will more than likely remain with the Redskins through the 2013 season, but his future with Washington is a bit cloudy past that.
It’s not far-fetched to think that Cousins could’ve been traded if it weren’t for the uncertainty surrounding Griffin's knee. If RG3 is able to go through the season without a hitch, then Cousins becomes a very hot prospect for quarterback-needy teams—especially when the draft rolls around. He could be great trade bait.
The question is whether the Redskins should try to trade Cousins. It’s definitely tempting. They could probably get at least a second-round pick, if not more, in return.
After the season, they'll be heading into their second consecutive draft without a first-round pick. This could be a great chance for Washington to stock up on a few more early picks to build upon its youthful roster. That way, the Redskins can fulfill whatever needs they may have and Cousins gets a chance to compete for a starting job somewhere else.
Even though next year’s draft is littered with great college passers, there always seems to be at least one team that still needs a quarterback after the draft.
Another reason why Cousins’ days may be numbered in a Redskins uniform is Pat White’s performance in last week’s preseason game. If Washington can count on White as a backup quarterback, it may be more inclined to trade Cousins.
I know some of you are probably saying, “It’s a preseason game, it doesn’t matter,” but there’s no denying that White’s passes were sharp and that he handled the defensive pressure well.
He is also more athletic than Cousins, making him a better fit for the read-option. While the read-option can still be effective without a dynamic running quarterback, it certainly helps to have one like White.
While this all sounds like a great plan, there’s always the possibility that RG3’s knee doesn’t hold up. If it doesn’t, Cousins is a better—and more well-rounded—player than White, so Cousins would be the best option as a replacement.
He is also well-versed in the offense, having already played in it for a year.
Trading a quarterback who you know can lead your team is no easy decision to make, but it has the potential to be very fruitful.
So, should they trade Cousins? There’s no easy answer. On one hand, there is a chance to reel in a big draft haul. On the other hand, you could lose a quarterback you might need down the road, which would be crippling.
Depending on how this season pans out with RG3 and White, Cousins could be on his way out of Washington.
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