Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 3, six days before the start of NFL free agency.
After Cousins tag, when will the Redskins draft a quarterback?
The sharp reader will notice the wording in the headline referring to “when” the Redskins will draft a quarterback, not “if” they will. With Kirk Cousins essentially on a one-year deal with the franchise tag, Robert Griffin III set to leave town, and Colt McCoy a free agent and possibly headed elsewhere for a better opportunity they need depth at the position immediately and a backup plan for the longer term.
I don’t think that the Redskins will take a quarterback in the first two rounds. Even if there is one that Scot McCloughan likes available when the Redskins are on the clock other needs, including the defensive line and a young wide receiver for whoever the quarterback is to throw to, will be viewed as the better available player.
But anytime from Round 3 on, I would not be surprised to see the Redskins turn in a card with a QB’s name on it. It could be Dak Prescott of Mississippi State in the third or fourth, or Kevin Hogan of Stanford sometime on Saturday.
Regardless of who the Redskins take, if McCoy does depart to a place where he thinks he has a better shot at starting some games they will have to find a veteran backup. Perhaps they could go after Matt Schaub or Charlie Whitehurst or one of a few other McCoy types. It’s not ideal but a later-round rookie is not going to be ready to step in if Cousins is sidelined.
But the Redskins do need to be prepared for the possibility that Cousins will move on in 2017 if he and the team can’t come to an agreement and the Redskins don’t think he will be worth the $23.9 million it would cost to tag him for a second year. That’s why they need to get a young QB in the system.
I believe the Cousins will end up staying. I think the Redskins and Cousins will end up agreeing to a long-term contract either this year or possibly in 2017. But McCloughan and the organization can’t gamble with the future of the most important position on the field. They haven’t drafted a QB since they took Cousins in 2012 and they need to get one in the system.
—The Redskins last played a game 53 days ago. It will be about 192 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL free agency starts 6; Redskins offseason workouts start 46; 2016 NFL draft 56
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