The Redskins traded for Kyle Allen on Monday, and in the process, cemented Dwayne Haskins' role as the quarterback of the future.
Here's the simple truth: If Haskins can't beat out Allen in an open competition, then Haskins isn't the quarterback of anybody's future.
Allen was a nice story for the first half of the 2019 season. An undrafted free agent playing for an injury-ravaged Panthers team, Carolina won the first four games Allen started and five of his first six starts. In his first four starts, Allen threw seven touchdowns with no interceptions and his QB rating never dipped below 85. After the nice start, though, came the harsh reality. Allen was bad, the INTs piled up, the Panthers lost, a lot, and head coach Ron Rivera even got fired.
And now Allen and Rivera are reunited in Washington, with just Haskins standing in the middle.
So why is this good for Redskins? Let's explain:
- "Competitive competition" - Rivera promised that Haskins would face real competition for the Redskins starting QB job this fall and that the 2019 first-round pick would not be "anointed" QB1. By bringing in Allen, Rivera gets to say that Haskins will face real competition. After all, Allen started and won games for Rivera just last year. The reality is that Haskins should win this competition running away. Had the Redskins brought in Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton, Haskins likely would have lost that competition. Those are established starters that likely would have beaten Haskins out in an honest competition. Allen isn't — but it still presents the veneer of a QB contest.
- No more Cam talk - The Redskins traded for a Panthers QB, just not the headliner in Cam Newton. And the move to grab Allen should end all of the Cam to D.C. speculation. That's a positive for Haskins, as Newton certainly wouldn't be coming to Washington as a backup or even to compete. Newton will go into his next job believing he's the starting quarterback.
- Haskins time - Right or wrong, Haskins has likely heard all of the rumors and speculation about what the Redskins will do to bring in another QB. Now the former Ohio State star knows what's going to happen and can move forward in his preparation for 2020. Before the Coronavirus shut down NFL facilities, Rivera said that Haskins has been at Redskins Park nearly every day. From the time Haskins got drafted 15th overall last year until the end of his rookie season, the quarterback never seemed at ease with the coaches or with his future. Now, he knows the situation and can control his game and preparation to win the job. He should win the job.
- Base of knowledge - It's very likely that Kyle Allen was worth more to the Redskins than any other NFL team. Maybe that's why Washington gave up a 5th-round draft pick. Allen knows Scott Turner's system and knows what Ron Rivera expects from his players. There will be no questions about the scheme or expectations, and that could permeate throughout the quarterback room.
- Chase Young's music - For months it's been more than likely the Redskins will draft Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the second overall pick, but after the Allen trade, it became that much more probable. Kyle Allen won't stop the Redskins from trading down out of the pick if a crazy offer comes in, but the scenario where Washington drafted a QB at number two already seemed far-fetched. Now it just seems unrealistic.
- Cheap - Need one more reason to like this trade? Allen comes cheap. He's due to make less than $700,000 in 2020 and then become a free agent. Considering the Redskins are paying Alex Smith more than $20 million and he's not expected to play in 2020, Washington needed to add a backup QB that was cost effective. Allen is very cost effective. For comparison, Case Keenum made $7 million last year.
The trade might not be a slam dunk. In his 12 starts, Allen had a few serious stinkers. The Redskins now have a very young pair of QBs with hardly any NFL experience beyond the 2019 season. And if detractors think a fifth-round pick is too steep of a price for a backup passer, there is an argument, especially for a team in a rebuild.
The Allen acquisition, however, is almost as important for the questions it shuts down than it is for the potential it creates.
In the best-case scenario, Allen won't touch the field for the Redskins. Rarely is that lack of upside worth giving up an asset, but in this case, if Allen can push Haskins just enough and quiet all the other noise, it's well worth the risk.
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