Reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins should be the top goal for the Redskins this offseason. The top goal.
The past two offseasons, however, have shown that goal remains elusive. In 2016, Washington low-balled their quarterback and a deal wasn't reached. In 2017, Cousins refused to negotiate long-term with the Redskins, opting to instead play on a one-year, $24 million franchise tag.
What will happen in 2018? Nobody knows, but it's entirely possible the Redskins won't have Cousins at quarterback.
With that in mind, here are eight realistic options for Washington at QB. There are plenty of options, but these could all make sense in some capacity.
- Colt McCoy - The only quarterback under contract for the Redskins in 2018, McCoy knows Jay Gruden's offense inside and out. He's been with the Redskins as long as Gruden, and started four games for Washington in 2014. Since Cousins was named starter in 2015, McCoy has been the backup. One of the all-time great QBs in college at the University of Texas, his professional resume has been unimpressive. He played on some bad teams in Cleveland and San Francisco, and took a number of big hits and sustained injuries. He's a different player now than he was then, and the Redskins front office has publicly and privately discussed their faith in McCoy. Will that be enough for him to be QB1 in 2018?
- Tyrod Taylor - Few QBs get less respect than Taylor does from the Bills, who inexplicably got benched for rookie Nathan Peterman earlier this year. Taylor is technically under contract for 2018, but with no guaranteed money due, expect Buffalo to release the former Virginia Tech star. Here's the thing: Taylor has been good. In three years in Buffalo, Taylor has a winning record and has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes with 50 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. Additionally, Taylor can run. In 2015 and 2016, he's rushed for nearly 600 yards each year and averaged five TDs on the ground.
- Andy Dalton - The connection between Gruden and Dalton will get talked about plenty. Gruden worked with Dalton in Cincinnati as offensive coordinator for three season before taking over the top job in Washington, and while the two were paired together, the quarterback played well. His best season came in 2013, their last working together. He passed for nearly 4,300 yards and 33 TDs. It's possible the Bengals would release Dalton this offseason to move forward with backup A.J. McCarron. It's unclear if Dalton will become available, but the idea of the QB again working with Gruden could have some merit.
- Case Keenum - For five seasons, Keenum looked like a career journeyman backup quarterback. He played in Houston, St. Louis and L.A., and piled up a 9-15 record as a starter. This season, Keenum has been a rocket, leading the Vikings to 9-3 record as starter in 12 games. He's completing nearly 68 percent of his passes and has thrown 20 touchdowns against seven interceptions. In a November game against the Redskins, Keenum completed 72 percent of his passes for 304 yards and four TDs, though he did throw two interceptions. Keenum has been quite good this year, but how will that translate into the free agent market? It's unclear.
- Sam Bradford - Another Vikings QB set for free agency, Bradford has had one of the weirder NFL resumes ever. The No. 1 overall pick in 2010 by the Rams, Bradford never really delivered upon that promise. In four seasons with the Rams, he started 49 games, often dealing with injuries. In 2015, he moved on to the Eagles and played well. In 2016, he played quite well for the Vikings, completing more than 71 percent of his passes with 20 TDs against five INTs. Bradford started the 2017 season with a bang, going 27 of 32 for 348 yards and three TDs in a big win over the Saints. Then Bradford injured his knee, and hardly played the rest of the season. Bradford has talent, but health has always been a question.
- Lamar Jackson - Before folks ask, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen won't be available. The Redskins will likely pick somewhere in the middle of the draft, and both the top QB prospects will be long gone. Louisville's Jackson is a different story. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner again put up video game numbers in 2017. More importantly for NFL scouts, this season Jackson showed increased accuracy, completing 60 percent of his passes, up from 56 percent in 2016. His throwing numbers are strong, 3,489 yards along with 25 TDs against 6 INTs, but on the ground he's just as dangerous. This year Jackson ran for more than 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns. Some NFL folks wonder if Jackson's accuracy can rise to an NFL level, but there are no doubts about his arm strength or athleticism. Simply put, Jackson is a baller.
- Baker Mayfield - The most electric player in college football in 2017, Mayfield has Oklahoma in the College Football Playoffs and is the owner of a fresh Heisman Trophy. Similar to Jackson, Mayfield's numbers are crazy. This year he's thrown for more than 4,100 yards while completing 71 percent of his passes to go with 41 TDs against just five INTs. He makes plays downfield, consistently, and has enough shift to escape the pocket and throw on the move. In the NFL, however, many scouts wonder if Mayfield has the size to make it at QB. Plus, there have been questions about maturity and he was arrested in February.
- Josh Allen - The QB from Wyoming was a big buzz candidate before the 2017 college football season started, but his season hasn't gone too great. He's got prototype size and a big arm, but this season has dealt with injuries and a tough schedule. He's thrown for just 1,658 yards and 13 TDs against six interceptions. In games against Oregon, Hawaii and Air Force, he threw for less than 100 yards. Allen looks to be a project for an NFL team that has time to develop. Could that maybe fit if Cousins is back with Washington on a one-year deal?
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