Identifying the Best Trade Scenarios for Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

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Identifying the Best Trade Scenarios for Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Peter Morgan/Associated Press
Cousins' time on the sidelines could be over if he's traded by the Redskins this offseason.

With Jay Gruden and the Washington Redskins making it a point to declare Robert Griffin III as their franchise quarterback, Kirk Cousins' time in Washington could be coming to a close

Add in ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting that Cousins is indeed open to a trade and the time to act would seem to be now.

Possessing a roster devoid of talent at a litany of positions, the Redskins could certainly use the young, inexpensive talent that Cousins could net in a trade.

In a league starved for quarterbacks, Washington wouldn't have to look too far to find suitors for a quarterback with Cousins' resume.

While his career QBR of 51.2 is the definition of average, it would place him among the NFL's top 20 active quarterbacks.

After using a fourth-round pick to select him in the 2012 draft, the Redskins shouldn't shop Cousins for anything less than multiple draft picks, with a second- or third-round pick included in such a package.

Going in with that mindset, here are four plausible trade scenarios for Cousins and the Redskins.

 

Best Fit

Cousins to Cleveland Browns

David Goldman/Associated Press
Cousins' relationship with Shanahan makes him an ideal fit for the Browns.

In terms of need, these are the Browns we're talking about here. Since the franchise's rebirth in 1999, it has run through 20 different starting quarterbacks.

While the Browns still have former first-round pick Brandon Weeden on their roster, the recent coaching change and his abysmal play should signal the end of his playing days in Cleveland—and in the NFL, for that matter.

Speaking of coaching change, new head coach Mike Pettine tabbed former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as his man to direct the offense.

It's his familiarity with Cousins that could make this trade happen.

If Pettine wants to make a quick splash—as he could be fired like his predecessor if he doesn't—Cousins presents the best of both worlds for the coach.

He's young enough to be the answer at the quarterback position for the long haul. At the same time, his experience in running Shanahan's offense makes him likelier to avoid the growing pains that, say, a Johnny Manziel would undergo.

Even with that said, there does remain a hiccup in this scenario. Ohio.com's Nate Ulrich reports that the Browns are infatuated with Manziel, which could make all these factors moot.

However, with Cleveland owning the fourth overall pick in the draft, it's possible that Manziel doesn't make it past the quarterback-starved Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Because of this uncertainty, it'd be hard to fathom any Cousins deal taking place prior to draft day.

 

Fallback Options

Cousins to Houston Texans

Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Unlike Manziel, Cousins is the traditional quarterback O'Brien has experience coaching.

You've heard the Manziel-to-Houston chatter, such as CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel insisting that the Texans absolutely must draft him.

Remember this, though: New Texans head coach Bill O'Brien is a Bill Belichick disciple. In comments he made to Peter King of The MMQB, O'Brien described traits of Tom Brady that made him his ideal quarterback:

I’d be getting texts, calls from Tom on Wednesday night about the third-down package. Thursday night I’d be hearing from him 9 o’clock, 10 o’clock about red-zone plays. Obviously, he’s talented, but Tom never stopped thinking about football. When you coach Tom Brady, you’re not coaching with him. You’re a partner in the offense with him. That’s the ideal for a quarterback — someone who cares about it as much as you do.

Now, does that sound like Johnny Football to you?

You also have to factor in the type of quarterbacks he has experience coaching. Brady, Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg are all traditional dropback passers like Cousins.

There's also the fact that Houston owns the No. 1 pick and none of the draft's top quarterbacks are viewed as elite prospects in ESPN's rankings.

With a roster well-stocked with talent that can win now, drafting the best player available—Jadeveon Clowney?—and trading for a player like Cousins could be the best course of action for Houston.

Prior to the pick-six barrage that mentally scarred Matt Schaub, he told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that he believed the Texans were Super Bowl contenders.

Despite not possessing elite upside, like Schaub, Cousins could be the starting quarterback for a team with such expectations.

 

Cousins to Minnesota Vikings

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
To capitalize on Peterson's prime years, the Vikings need an NFL-ready quarterback under center.

Despite facing favorable coverages, with teams geared up to stop Adrian Peterson, Minnesota couldn't muster an effective passing attack with Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman and Christian Ponder under center.

Now, the Vikings could address this issue in the draft, but doing so would be wasting the remaining years of Peterson's prime.

While Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck had early success as rookies, none of the incoming quarterbacks are as highly touted as that duo.

What does that mean, you ask?

Well, in other words, by the time a Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater is ready to lead a winner, Peterson will be on his last legs.

By trading for Cousins, the Vikings would speed up their ascent to contention and could address another needlike linebacker or cornerbackwith their first-round pick.

With players like Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph already in tow alongside Peterson, Cousins has the weapons to make Minnesota relevant again in the NFC North.

 

Long Shot

Cousins to Tennessee Titans

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Cousins could be the quarterback for Whisenhunt if Locker falters in Tennessee.

Kurt Warner, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger or Derek Anderson, Kevin Kolb and Matt Leinart?

Which group of quarterbacks should Jake Locker be grouped with? Considering his injury history and accuracy woes, the latter would seem to be the right fit.

With Ken Whisenhunt being selected as the new head coach in Tennessee, this fact doesn't bode well for Locker's future with the Titans. This is because the quarterbacks he's grouped with played a part in Whisenhunt getting fired by the Arizona Cardinals.

Enter Cousins.

Despite struggling with his accuracy in his starting stint in 2014, Cousins completed over 60 percent of his passes in his collegiate career and rookie season in Washington.

Owning a quick release and displaying good pocket presence, Cousins fits the mold of the successful quarterbacks Whisenhunt has coached.

Locker, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired as a passer. A superb athlete, Locker has had his struggles going through his passing progressions.

Prone to holding on to the football too long, Locker has suffered numerous injuries as a result.

While he was playing his best football prior to going down with a Lisfranc injury, Locker still battled bouts of inconsistency in 2013.

This was an issue Whisenhunt discussed with Peter King of The MMQB after being hired:

I have seen good, and I have seen bad. No question he has ability, and I have heard good things about him. The question is, can he harness the ability, and can he be consistent? That's been the question about Locker since he was a phenom at the University of Washington.

Question is, will Whisenhunt work with Locker on these flaws or use them as reasons to look for another quarterback?

Set to earn roughly $4 million next season according to OverTheCap.com, it's likelier that Locker will be given a trial run by Whisenhunt in 2014.

While it's in the realm of possibility that Whisenhunt brings in a quarterback to challenge Locker, it's hard to imagine him giving up the draft capital it'd take to acquire Cousins.

But if Washington does indeed hold on to Cousins for another season, this is a scenario that could be revisited after the 2014 campaign.

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