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Yes, of course, Kirk Cousins would seriously consider the Browns in free agency

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Yes, of course, Kirk Cousins would seriously consider the Browns in free agency

Redskins Twitter started sizzling Wednesday night when MMQB's Albert Breer suggested that Kirk Cousins would "seriously consider" the Browns in free agency. 

Well, despite all the consternation, duh. 

Kirk Cousins is a savvy businessman. He doesn't close the door on anything, and the Browns could be a key cog to driving the market up should Cousins hit free agency. 

For two seasons, Cousins has not completely closed the door on anything, including his return to the Redskins or his desire to get to free agency. In fact, Redskins fans don't really know what Cousins wants because Cousins has been smart enough to never really disclose much. 

Will Cousins play on another one-year deal? Yes.


Will Cousins weigh all options? Absolutely.

And the Browns could be an interesting option. 

Sure, Cleveland has gone an astonishingly awful 1-31 in the last two seasons. The Browns have been terrible for a decade, but it does seem like, finally, a bright future awaits. 

Cleveland has the first and fourth overall picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. Further, the Browns have more than $110 million available to spend in 2018 along with a new GM in John Dorsey.

The Browns have an absolute boatload of money they could throw at Cousins. No matter how often the Redskins passer said that his decision will not "be about the money," at some point, money will matter. 

Imagine a scenario where Cleveland offers Cousins $30 million per season with at least two years guaranteed. That, combined with the possibility of adding two elite players in the 2018 Draft, could be enticing. The Browns could add players like N.C. State's Bradley Chubb, Penn State's Saquon Barkley or Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson. 

That future is promising. 

And, while it's easy to dismiss the Browns' hopes in a rebuild, Cleveland also has three second-round picks. That's a lot of chances to add young talent.

But does Cousins really want to go to a rebuilding team?

Remember, everybody assumed he would go to the 49ers, a squad that was rebuilding with a ton of salary cap space. But the Niners have moved on, acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo to run Kyle Shanahan's offense. In turn, maybe Cousins would elect to try his hand at rebuilding Cleveland with Hue Jackson, a coach many players speak highly of despite his terrible record. 

There's also value in a Cleveland offer in relation to other offers. Maybe it won't be Cousins, but his agent, Mike McCartney, would be crazy not to try and leverage a big offer from Cleveland against other suitors for his client. The Browns could be quite useful for Cousins even if the quarterback doesn't wind up on the banks of Lake Erie.

Now, some have even gone as for to point out that Cousins is from Michigan and might like getting back to the Midwest, but on the list of reasons why he would think about joining the AFC North franchise, that's not a legitimate one. Cousins has made $44 million the last two years. He can fly back to Michigan whenever he wants from wherever he wants, whether that's from DCA, Cleveland or even some airport in Florida. 

If he gets to free agency — which is still far from a sure thing — Cousins will certainly ponder the Browns. He's going to ponder every path like he explained during his charity radio event last week. 

Cousins is smart and strategic. Not considering an option, any option, would be the opposite. 

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The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list

Every offseason the NFL Network polls a number of current players to determine the Top 100 stars in the league.

It's a fun discussion topic during an otherwise slow time in the football calendar, and while the rankings carry no official meaning, it would be silly to dismiss the process altogether. After all, these are players voting for their fellow players. 

Over the last few seasons, the Redskins have seen a various number of their players make the list. Trent Williams is a mainstay, Jordan Reed made an appearance, and while he was playing in Washington, QB Kirk Cousins made the list. 

For example, in 2017, Cousins ranked 70th on the NFL Top 100. That same season, while quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, Smith came in at 81 on the list. 

Now Redskins QB, there is a bit of a mystery surrounding Smith.

The NFL has revealed numbers 100 to 11, and Smith hasn't made the list. Cousins, now a Viking, landed 94th, the first QB on the list.

Another 10 QBs have been named to the Top 100: Jimmy Garoppolo (90), Derek Carr (60), Philip Rivers (56), Case Keenum (51), Deshaun Watson (50), Jared Goff (38), Matt Stafford (31), Matt Ryan (29), Ben Roethlisberger (18) and Russell Wilson (11).

Smith had the best statistical season of his career in 2017, and he led the NFL in passer rating. He certainly belongs higher on the Top 100 than a number of the quarterbacks listed above, particularly young players without his track record of success like Keenum, Watson or Goff. 

But does Smith deserve a Top 10 ranking in the NFL?

For Smith to make the list, it will mean a Top 10 ranking. Consider too that Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Carson Wentz have not yet landed on the Top 100. All four of those players seem like locks for the Top 10, which will be revealed next Monday night on NFL Network. 

It might seem surprising for Smith to land in the Top 10 of the NFL Top 100, but it would make zero sense for him to be left off the list altogether. 


— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap


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Need to Know: Redskins QB Alex Smith understands that expectations will be high immediately

Need to Know: Redskins QB Alex Smith understands that expectations will be high immediately

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 20, 36 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Emptying the notebook from the offseason practices

—Last week I wrote that Gruden expects Alex Smith to be ready to win in Week 1. Smith understands those expectations and plans to meet them. “No, I don’t think you can rely on the fact that, ‘Oh, it’s the first year here.’ Nobody cares,” he said when asked about his transition into the new offense. “It’s not like in the fall, you guys are going to be like, ‘Ah, well, this is his first year here. We’ll give him a break.’ It just doesn’t work that way.” Of course, Smith is right. If the Redskins are 1-3 in October, nobody is going to cut them any slack if their veteran quarterback who got a contract with $71 million guaranteed is struggling with the new offense. 

—I didn’t count reps during the practices that were open to the media, but it seemed that they were giving DL Jonathan Allen a light workload. “I think he did a great job of rehabbing in the offseason,” said defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. “We were kind of a little bit hesitant early on when he was here just taking reps and stuff but looks like he’s just keeps on progressing from where he kind of left off last year and the sky’s the limit for him.” The Redskins essentially will be adding two first-round picks to their D-line with Allen’s return and the addition of Daron Payne in the first round this year. I would look for Allen to get a full workload when training camp starts. 

—There are questions about Kevin Hogan making the 53-man roster as the third quarterback. Jay Gruden had some rather tepid praise for him last week. “He’s done good,” he said. “I like Kevin. He’s a smart kid and he’s got some deceiving escape ability to him. He can run a little bit. We saw one today, he popped out of there for about a 20-yard gain. I like where he’s at.” But near the end of that practice, Hogan threw a red zone pass right into the arms of rookie CB Greg Stroman. If we see much more of that, the Redskins may keep a sixth wide receiver or tenth offensive lineman rather than a third quarterback. 

—When he is asked about the performance of undrafted rookies, Gruden usually declines to praise specific players so when he does pick out individuals it’s worth paying some attention. On Wednesday he said that WR Cam Simms and CB Danny Johnson “stood out” at their respective positions. Looking at it right now, there don’t appear to be roster spots available for either of them. But one or two undrafted players break through and make the roster every year and Simms and Johnson are two to watch. 

— “In the second year, we expect major strides for all first-year guys. I’ve said it before. So just understanding pro football, what it’s all about in your first year, you have the four preseason games and 16 regular season games,” Gruden said when asked about RB Samaje Perine. “It’s a grind, mentally. It’s all-day football, not like college where you only get 20 hours a week, so I think he understands the grind and our system a lot better.” The answer obviously applies to all of the 2017 draft picks. In particular, they will be counting on next steps from OLB Ryan Anderson, CB Fabian Moreau, WR Robert Davis, and CB Joshua Holsey. History tells us that some will take big steps, others will not.

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


Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was born on this date in 1978.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 36
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 50
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 73

The Redskins last played a game 171 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 81 days. 

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