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Offseason questions: Should the Redskins draft another quarterback?

Offseason questions: Should the Redskins draft another quarterback?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS

Should the Redskins draft another quarterback?

Finlay: No. The guess here is that Kirk Cousins gets hit with the franchise tag, again, and plays 2017 with Washington. That means the 'Skins will have Cousins making $24 million, Colt McCoy making another $3 million and a developmental passer in Nate Sudfeld. The team does not need to add another QB into the mix.

The big caveat: Should Washington not franchise Cousins, not ink him to a long-term deal, or figure out a trade, then drafting another quarterback would make sense. It seems highly unlikely that Cousins won't play for the Redskins in 2017, both the coach and team president said they expect him back, but crazy stuff happens. Many in the organization feel quite strong about McCoy's ability to run the team as needed, but if Cousins is gone, then another QB makes sense. 

The calendar is on the Redskins side. Whatever happens with Cousins will come long before the NFL Draft in April, so the team can react accordingly. 

Tandler: If Cousins signs a long-term contract between now and the draft or if the Redskins have a very high degree of confidence that they will be able to get a deal done by the July 15 deadline they should not look elsewhere for a quarterback. But if Cousins is playing on the tag, meaning that 2017 is much more likely than not to be his last year in a Redskins uniform, the team needs to look seriously at draft a quarterback.

The team is not at all prepared to be without Cousins in 2018. Backup Colt McCoy could be a free agent and even if he returns he is only a temporary (as in part of the season) fix. Sudfeld has a long way to go and there is a good chance he never gets there.

Waiting until 2018 to resolve the situation would be a big mistake. That would leave them either needing to dip into a pool of free agent quarterbacks, which is always awful, or forced to take a quarterback high in the draft. Both of those “solutions” have double-digit losses written all over them.

They have two fourth-round picks this year and two in the fifth round. That is the area where they need to be on the lookout for the next Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson (or, for that matter, Kirk Cousins). In fact, if the Redskins had used their fourth-round pick last year instead of trading it away for two fifths they could have had Prescott. Can you imagine how much better the Redskins’ leverage would be in the Cousins negotiations if they had a capable starting quarterback waiting in the wings?

But back to reality. The best thing for the Redskins to do would be to sign Cousins to a long-term deal and be done with the quarterback position for the next several years. If they can’t do that they need to be proactive about finding his successor. That could well mean getting a quarterback in the middle rounds and using 2017 to groom him to be the 2018 starter. Yes, they have plenty of other needs but they must do what they must do to set up the most important position on the field for success.

More offseason questions: 

What are resonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

- With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."

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Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

The Redskins aren’t in the quarterback business, so it’s highly unlikely that they will look to trade up in the first round of the draft on Thursday. But their phones will be open for business to move down. 

Speaking at the team’s pre-draft press conference, Doug Williams didn’t rule out trading up from the team’s first-round spot at 13thoverall but he doesn’t think it’s likely. 

“The chances of trading up might be a little slimmer than trading down,” he said. 

Williams said that the phones in the room will be ringing and that they will listen to any offers. But usually the team that wants to move up initiates the call and because the Redskins are set at one particular position they probably won’t pick up the phone. 

“If we were in the quarterback business, which is what this league is about, if we were in the heavy quarterback business we’d talk about moving up,” he said. “At this time, we can sit back and see what comes up if we stay at 13.”

The Redskins are set at quarterback after they traded their third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for veteran Alex Smith to replace the departed Kirk Cousins. Williams thinks that the Redskins already got good value from the pick. 

“When I think about Alex Smith, I say we got the best third-round pick in the draft,” he said. “I don't care what nobody says. You can't get a better third-round pick.”

Because they think they got a good player, albeit an older one, with that pick, the Redskins are not necessarily looking to make a deal to move back and recoup that pick on draft day. 

Williams emphasized that in order to move back, you have to have a team that wants to trade up. Often that is easier said than done. 

“They don’t just call you to ask you, they have to get a player that they want,” said Williams. “At that particular time, they’re afraid that somebody else might pick him. They might call you to ask you if you want to move back . . . If we move back, that’s because somebody called us to see if we want to move back.”

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.