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Why the Cleveland Browns might be a legitimate landing spot for Kirk Cousins

Why the Cleveland Browns might be a legitimate landing spot for Kirk Cousins

For a signal caller looking to take the next step in his career, the consensus around the NFL is that Cleveland isn't the best spot to do so, and for good reason. The constant quarterback and coaching turnover that happens in the Browns organization makes them the antithesis of stable.

Therefore, when a report this week stated that there may be some intrigue between Kirk Cousins and the league's worst team, a fair amount of eyebrows were raised. But in a new #RedskinsTalk podcast, Redskins Insider JP Finlay and NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo discussed the merits of playing in Cleveland (yes, that sentence was intentionally included in this story and is not a mistake).

"I feel like Cleveland is looking for a veteran option," Garafolo told Finlay. "I really believe that."

"Hue Jackson wants to win now," he continued. "That feeling of losing that he had last year did not sit well with him, and he got emotional at a few points during the season. So I think he's looking to turn this thing around quickly, and not make this a longer rebuild. And the way you do that is with a veteran quarterback."

So far, most have only made a connection between Cousins and his former coach Kyle Shanahan, who's now in charge of the 49ers. But Jackson has a reputation similar to Shanahan's of being a guy who's desirable to play for, even with his unsightly 1-15 record from 2016.


In addition, even with Tuesday's news that the Redskins placed an exclusive franchise tag on No. 8, a trade is still possible between Washington and another franchise, which is why Garafolo "could see [the Browns] certainly emerging as a strong candidate for Cousins."

Another thing to consider is Cousins' aspiration to suit up for a team that wants him, something he's made clear in recent months. If he doesn't feel that way with the Burgundy and Gold, he could force their hand by not agreeing to a long-term deal (if he's offered one), which in turn could push the Redskins to trade him to ensure they get something for him.

Garafolo can also see that affecting how the next few months go.

"The other thing you got to remember about Cousins," he said, "is that he's so frustrated with the lack of a commitment from the Redskins now, that a team that is going to be able to convince him, 'Hey come here...we've got the right plan, we'll build around you, I'm a quarterback friendly coach,' you know what? That may be enough to sell him."

Cousins has already formed a nice relationship with one former Bengals offensive coordinator in Jay Gruden. In Jackson, there's potential there to form another. And if the Browns work hard enough and the Redskins don't, what at first seemed like a longshot may not end up being one. 

For the full conversation about Cousins and the Browns, plus Garafolo's thoughts on Colt McCoy as Redskins starter in 2017, listen to the #RedskinsTalk podcast below. And don't forget to subscribe.

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 21, 36 days before the NFL draft.  

Redskins starters quick hitters—offense

The last couple of days here I looked at how the depth charts are shaping up with a little bit of commentary (offense, defense). Today and tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at the starters with some quick hitters about each one, starting today with the offense.

QB Alex Smith—The deal is done, and the Redskins have their man for five years at $22.2 million per year or, if they prefer, three years at $23.7 million per. It seems like most fans are behind him but there will have to be a few more wins than losses this fall for that to become permanent.

RB Samaje Perine—He got better as the year went on, averaging nearly a half yard per carry more in the last seven games compared to the first nine. But the 3.4 average per carry certainly did not stop both Doug Williams and Jay Gruden from talking about drafting a running back early.

TE Jordan Reed—According to reports, he is rehabbing well from the hamstring and toe injuries that severely limited him last year. Still, expect him to be kept in bubble wrap until training camp and even then, his action may be limited.

WR Josh Doctson—Did Kirk Cousins look away from Doctson too often, lacking the confidence in him to let him go get the 50-50 balls? Will Smith have more confidence in Doctson? The answers to those questions may determine if the third-year receiver breaks out in 2018 or he continues to tease with flashes of ability.

WR Paul Richardson—He’s capable of the acrobatic catch, which should be fun to watch. Richardson was good with Russell Wilson on the off-schedule plays, maybe he can do the same with Smith.

WR Jamison Crowder—I guess it’s fair to say he had an off year in 2017 but his receiving yardage only dropped by 60 yards from 2016. It will be interesting to see if they keep him in as the punt returner after he averaged 6.3 yards per return (23rd of 25 qualifiers) last year.

LT Trent Williams—The six-time Pro Bowler is still in the relatively early stages of recovering from surgery to the knee that kept him from practicing from about Week 6 on. Don’t look for him until training camp and even then, the early workload is likely to be light.

LG Arie Kouandjio—This is the one offensive position that remains up in the air. Kouandjio has shown some grit as a spot starter but I don’t think the organization views him as a 16-game starter.

C Chase Roullier—Shortly after Roullier got the starting job when Spencer Long went out injured, Jay Gruden said that Roullier would be the Redskins’ center “for a long time”. There is no reason to doubt that at this point in time.

RG Brandon Scherff—His concern no longer is trying to live up to having been the fifth pick of the draft. Scherff has to play well enough to justify his 2019 option-year salary, which will be in the vicinity of $13 million.

RT Morgan Moses—He had surgery to repair his ankles, which were an issue most of last season. Still, he didn’t miss a start. Like Williams, even if he’s ready for training camp, don’t expect to see a whole lot of him.

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

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 27
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 129
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 173

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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!