Kirk Cousins' first two years with the Washington Redskins always felt like a short-term pit stop for the 25-year-old.
Now, Cousins has reportedly informed the team that he's open to getting a start in his new home sooner rather than later, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:
With WASH anointing RGIII as its starting QB, Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is open to being traded, per sources. Already has told team that, too— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 2, 2014
The news comes at a time where the Redskins franchise is already undergoing big changes.
Head coach Mike Shanahan was fired after the 2013 regular season and replaced by former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, whose only head coaching experience comes in minor league versions of professional football.
At the time of his hire, Cousins seemed on board with what Gruden could offer the team's quarterbacks in particular.
“It’s nice that the head coach has played quarterback and understands the quarterback position, and personally, I think that’s a good thing for us quarterbacks,” he said, per Mike Jones of The Washington Post.
Dan Steinberg, also of The Washington Post, provided a statement from Cousins discussing the possibility of being traded on ESPN 980 last month:
Cousins, on a trade: "I feel like that’s always been something that has been brought up in different circles from the day I was picked..."— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) February 2, 2014
"...and continues to be brought up more now that I played the last couple weeks of the season"— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) February 2, 2014
Cousins said that on the air. On ESPN 980. When given an opening to say he was just happy to be in D.C. A month ago.— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) February 2, 2014
Cousins is not eligible for a trade until March 11, per Schefter, so Washington will have plenty of time for dialogue with prospective suitors.
Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington is reporting that Cousins has not formally requested a trade, despite the rumors surrounding the QB:
Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins has not formally requested a trade, a source close to Cousins said Sunday afternoon.
The source said Cousins is not “unhappy” in Washington and is “not in a rush” to bolt town, either. But the person added that Cousins is a competitor and wants to play and, to that end, would welcome the opportunity to become a starter somewhere in the NFL.
The Redskins are aware of the quarterback’s stance, the source said.
The Cleveland Browns are a possibility with Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins' former offensive coordinator, taking over the same position. However, with Washington still light on draft picks following its 2012 trade for Robert Griffin III, Cousins will likely go wherever his value is the highest.
Where Cousins' value stands at this point is another question entirely.
After taking over for an injured Griffin and leading the Redskins to wins over the Baltimore Ravens and Browns as a rookie, it looked as if the team could have two superstars on its hands.
Cousins threw for 466 yards and four touchdowns against three interceptions in three appearances, finishing with a 101.6 quarterback rating. A possible Cousins trade all but evaporated when Griffin tore his ACL in the playoffs, though, so Washington walked into 2013 with two highly touted players.
But rather than enhance his value, Cousins' play in place of Griffin may have damaged it irreparably. The former Michigan State standout appeared in five games, starting the season's final three, and was statistically among the worst quarterbacks in the league.
He completed only 52.3 percent of his passes, averaged 5.51 yards per attempt and threw four touchdowns against seven interceptions.
Of the 45 quarterbacks who threw at least 100 passes in 2013, Football Outsiders' DVOA metric measured Cousins as the worst.
His negative-43.0 percent value against replacement-level was nearly eight points worse than Brandon Weeden, the second-worst quarterback via that metric. Blaine Gabbert was the only player with a lower QB rating in Pro Football Focus' metric (subscription required) among guys with at least 100 dropbacks.
Alen Dumonjic of The Score wondered whether Cousins would even be able to recoup the fourth-round pick the Redskins used on him two years ago:
As noted by Schefter, the new Redskins brass has made it clear Cousins isn't part of their plans as a starter, either.
While Griffin was benched by Shanahan for the final three games under the guise of keeping him healthy, Gruden already named the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year his starter without question last month, per radio personality Chad Dukes:
Three years into his NFL career, you can understand why Cousins would want to be a starter. Or, at the very least, why he would want a chance to start without the looming specter of Griffin hanging over his head.
But following his performance in 2013, Cousins might find that those jobs aren't as readily available as he thinks.
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