The whispers and grumblings about the Redskins' second-string quarterback and his future with the team didn't just start. But now that Kirk Cousins has made it known he's open to a trade, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the buzz burns a little brighter, and suddenly we're all dissecting possible trade scenarios.
But rather than discussing what team may be interested in Cousins' services, or where the young quarterback would fit best, or attempting to connect dots regarding coaches and coordinators, the actual rub is what the Redskins would get in return for Cousins if a trade went down.
That's what really matters, right? At least for the Redskins and their fans. We don't necessarily care what team lands Cousins, or what city he winds up in, so long as Washington receives fair compensation in return.
Let's take a look at some possible trade packages for the Redskins, and whether or not they'd stay on the line for details, or kill the call.
Offered: (1) Fourth-rounder
Seeing as how the Redskins selected Kirk Cousins in the fourth round in 2012, this would seem like even compensation on the surface. But since Cousins joined the Redskins, regardless of coaching regime, the team has invested in him. Taking a deal like this would feel like desperate settling, and it would imply that Cousins today is no better than he was as a greenhorn nearly two years ago.
Offered: (2) Second-rounders
Although we can look back on the Matt Schaub trade of 2007 when the Texans gave the Falcons two second-rounders in return for then-25-year-old Schaub and draw similarities, times have changed. Trading for the young backup with limited experience has assumed more risk, while draft picks continue to gain value.
That said, if some schmo in a front office wants to offer two second-round picks, the Redskins probably don't waste much time signing the papers.
Offered: (1) Third-rounder
This would likely be the fairest compensation for both sides. Some could argue that Cousins is more valuable on the Redskins roster than whoever they draft in the third round, but no one can say that definitively. Washington's roster is in the process of an overhaul, making a draft pick with the potential to start more profitable than a young insurance policy.
Offered: (1) Second-rounder and (1) Conditional Fifth-rounder
An offer like this would be attractive and ESPN's Adam Schefter mentioned the idea on ESPN 980's the Sports Fix on Wednesday.
Clearly the second-rounder is a prized pick, and even more so depending on how bad the offering team was last season. But the juice would come by way of the conditional pick, which could bump up to, say, a fourth-round pick if Cousins' new team posted a winning record in 2014. And maybe the conditions allow for it to bump up even higher to, say, a third-rounder if Cousins' new team makes the playoffs.
Schefter didn't report this as imminent, nor did he make a list of teams who'd be willing to put this sort of deal together. He just threw around the idea and made it clear an offer like this one wouldn't surprise him.
As for the Redskins, the offer seems nice. Sure you'd like the fifth- (or fourth-, or third-) rounder to be a part of this year's draft, but there's nothing wrong with a little stockpiling. And the second-rounder could be used this May to upgrade the wide receiving corps from the deep class of receivers in this draft; the offensive line, which is in dire need of an upgrade; or the defense, which requires improvement throughout.
Offered: (1) Second-rounder
Maybe this offer doesn't pack as much punch after mentioning an equal premium and then some just a few lines prior. But it still spikes some interest.
Again referring to a deep wide receiver class, the Redskins' need at linebacker, offensive line woes, etc., draft prospects and the ability to get them in the door in Jay Gruden's first year as head coach in Washington would be ideal.
Think of a situation where a team like the Raiders are willing to give their second-round pick for Cousins. If the Redskins can turn around and draft an offensive lineman and inside linebacker—both of whom they see as long-term assets—in the early second round using their own pick and the recently acquired selection, does that sound better or worse than stashing Kirk Cousins on the sidelines for another season in a "Break Glass in Case of an Emergency" jar?
About five months ago I wrote about the Redskins and their ability to name their price when it comes to Kirk Cousins. But that was before seven interceptions in five games last season and the ouster of Mike Shanahan as head coach.
Not only has the market taken a turn in regards to Cousins' stock, but a new regime may handle this thing a bit differently moving forward. And suddenly, waiting until 2015 to trade him doesn't seem like the team's best hand.
Bottom line: Kirk Cousins isn't going to be in Washington forever. Here's to hoping the Redskins play the market right and receive a decent return on their investment.