Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 10, 63 days before NFL free agency starts.
—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 55
—NFL Draft (4/26) 106
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 242
Answering your questions
Simple question but not a simple answer. If the two of them were just standing there and I could take one to QB the Redskins I’d take Cousins. He’s younger, he has more upside and he knows the system.
But the two guys aren’t just standing there. Neither one of them is under contract with the Redskins for 2018. There are plenty of other factors that will go into deciding which player is the better choice. How much do I have to pay Cousins to stay here? Long-term deal or one year? How much draft capital do I have to give up to get Smith? Since his current contract has just one more year to go can I extend him before making a trade? And how much do I have to pay him?
So, there are lots of factors that would go into making a choice. Multiply that times many other potential QB choices and you can see what a monumental task the Redskins have in front of them.
Rich, is Gruden maybe thinking that a rookie QB takes him off the hot seat? Basically the young QB would need time to develop ?— 🇺🇸🇨🇺 (@elLeonSordo) January 9, 2018
On one hand, no. I think Gruden would rather have Kirk Cousins here on a long-term deal and handle any pressure that would come with having a four-year starter as his quarterback.
But your question is not completely off base. The chances are that he will have Cousins for a maximum of one more season. Quite simply, if he is going to start over at quarterback he is better off professionally if he does it with three years left on his contract. Gruden may want to move on from Cousins sooner rather than later. You could interpret that as a desire to avoid being on the hot seat or at least postponing it for as long as possible.
There are a lot of moving parts here. The one thing that seems clear is that you are right about Kouandjio. He did a passable job filling in for six starts, but I think they would rather have him as a reserve than as a starter. After all, they did feel OK letting him go in the cut to 53.
I’m not sure that Long, who is an unrestricted free agent, will come back. He has to get healthy first and then the Redskins will see how much they will value him in free agency. But whether it’s Long or someone from another team, I think a free agent will be the Week 1 starter. They might take a guard sometime on Saturday during the draft but I don’t see a player taken outside of the top 100 being a Week 1 starter.
The days of the “bell cow” running back are fading away. Sure, there are some good ones like Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott but for the most part, it’s by committee. Just look at the four teams playing in the NFC divisional round. The Eagles had three backs gain over 300 yards this year, the Vikings had two over 500. The Falcons have rolled with the duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman for a few years now and the Saints just established their two-headed attack with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara.
So I don’t think that they are all that worried about getting a 20-carry per game guy. I do think that they will look to upgrade the position in either free agency or in the draft but with a complementary type of player and not a “bell cow”.
Tandler on Twitter
I don’t think that it could work directly like that but I think there are ways to work around it and get some compensation. Easier said than done, however.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) January 9, 2018
In case you missed it
- One position the Redskins should avoid in the first round
- Redskins mock draft round-up: Is Barkley really an option?
- In calling for closure at QB, Gruden may be losing a year with Cousins
- 8 QBs who could replace Kirk Cousins