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Shanahan: Someone might trade a first-round pick for Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (12) warms up before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)


Washington coach Mike Shanahan thinks his decision to start quarterback Kirk Cousins for the final three games of the regular season may yield dividends for the franchise in the future.

Shanahan said on ESPN 980 that he believes that if Cousins plays well, some other team might offer a first-round draft pick in a trade for Cousins.

“If he lights it up, hey, maybe we can bring a first-round draft choice back to this organization, and say hey, who are we gonna take in the first round,” Shanahan said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “And I think by him playing and Robert not playing, it gives us a chance to have a few options for our organization that we wouldn’t normally have, and the safety of our quarterback going into the offseason is preserved. . . . His value can only go up. It cannot go down. It can only go up.”

Washington didn’t have a first-round draft pick this year and doesn’t have a first-round draft pick next year, thanks to the trade with St. Louis that allowed Washington to draft Robert Griffin III. So getting a first-round draft pick for Cousins could be great for a franchise that has plenty of holes to fill.

Unfortunately, it’s probably wishful thinking. Cousins lasted until the fourth round of last year’s draft because NFL teams didn’t think he had first-round talent, and a few good performances in meaningless games won’t change that. If an NFL team wants to spend a first-round draft pick on a quarterback this offseason, that first-round pick will be spent on a player like Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles or Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, not Kirk Cousins.