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If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, here are 8 possible replacements

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If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, here are 8 possible replacements

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. 

  1. 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?
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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