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The 49ers are looking at the top QBs in the draft; how might this affect the Redskins and Kirk Cousins?

The 49ers are looking at the top QBs in the draft; how might this affect the Redskins and Kirk Cousins?

When the 49ers signed quarterback Brian Hoyer early in free agency this year many assuming that Kyle Shanahan was bringing the veteran in to be a placeholder until he could sign Kirk Cousins in 2018. But it turns out that Hoyer may be keeping the seat warm for a different quarterback.

For a team that supposedly has its quarterback plan set, the 49ers sure have been doing a lot of quarterback shopping. They had a private workout with Cal QB Davis Webb on Tuesday. Webb is just one in a long line of quarterbacks on whom the 49ers have done research lately.

They have had private workouts or visits with Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech product Patrick Mahomes, and DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 8.0

Those five quarterbacks are generally considered to be at the top of the class, the QBs who will go in the first or second round. The 49ers have the second pick each of the first two rounds. If the Browns take Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the top pick as expected, Shanahan and GM John Lynch would have their choice of any quarterback on the board. Even if they bypass a quarterback at No. 2 they could well have Webb and/or Kinzer still on the board early in the second round.

Certainly, the 49ers could just be doing some due diligence here. But the reason you conduct due diligence is that you never know what you might find. What if Shanahan decides that one of those quarterbacks could be as good as Kirk Cousins in a couple of years, or at least close enough to make going with that QB in the draft worth the $15-$23 million per year in cap space they would save by going with the draft pick instead of bringing Cousins in at around $25 million per year.

If that happens, where would that leave Cousins in 2018? His first choice of a destination would be gone. If Jared Goff of Sean McVay’s Rams shows any signs of promise the Rams will be reluctant to move on from the first overall draft pick after just two seasons and Los Angeles would be out of the Cousins sweepstakes.

That might leave Washington as Cousins’ top option. Jay Gruden’s offense is perfectly suited to what Cousins does well and the organization has a history of keeping the team stocked with offensive weapons.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins seven-round mock draft

And regardless of who the 49ers draft or how Goff performs, how much will Cousins be worth next year on the open market, without the artificial value of the franchise tag? A transition tag by the Redskins would carry a value of $28 million but while that’s relevant right now in figuring out what’s a fair contract for Cousins it won’t mean anything if he starts shopping for an offer sheet. Teams will bid for his services starting from zero, not from a tag number.

So maybe the Redskins are playing this right. Maybe the bidding for Cousins won’t go sky high, especially if the Rams and 49ers are not in the mix. Maybe his true market value will prove to be closer to $20 million per year than $25 million per.

Of course, all it takes is one team to throw in a huge offer that the Redskins won’t want to match and then they face losing Cousins without compensation. It’s certainly possible that the Redskins will end up being big losers in all of this. But it’s also possible that playing this out until the last possible moment in March of 2018 could just work out for the Redskins.

For the first hint as to how it might play out, let’s see what the 49ers draft strategy is and take it from there.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

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USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

Lost in the fact that Tress Way is having a stellar season is that his fellow specialist, Dustin Hopkins, is getting it done, too.

The Redskins' kicker has made 17 of 19 field goals so far in 2018, giving him an 89.5-percent conversion rate on kicks. Against Carolina, he nailed a career-long 56-yarder, plus he's 17-for-17 on extra points.

But on Tuesday, a report came out saying that Hopkins is "a bit banged up." As of now, the Redskins don't know if they'll have Hopkins or not this weekend vs. the Texans, which is why they worked out five kickers five days before the Houston matchup, per Field Yates.

Among the group of free agents was former 'Skin Kai Forbath, who made 32-of-38 three-pointers for the Vikings in 2017. He was with the Burgundy and Gold from 2012-2014 and also briefly in 2015. 

Washington also reportedly tried out two maligned kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Blair Walsh. 

The Bucs drafted Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft but he flamed out in Tampa and was gone after a single year and poor 2017 preseason. Walsh, meanwhile, hasn't been the same since missing a 27-yard game winning playoff attempt versus Seattle while he was with Minnesota.  

Rounding out the group was Sam Ficken and Jon Brown.

The Redskins have been very reliant on both Hopkins and Way this season, seeing as their offense has had its issues. They've needed Hopkins to cash in on field goals to avoid wasting points and Way to help win the field position battle each week.

For some franchises, losing a kicker for a week or two wouldn't be much of a problem. And while Washington could very well be OK without Hopkins, they'd rather not have to bring in a new foot for any amount of time.

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NFC East Update: The division race is shaping up very well for the Redskins

NFC East Update: The division race is shaping up very well for the Redskins

The Redskins helped themselves in the NFC East division race with a big Week 10 win over the Buccaneers, and then the Cowboys helped their rival out again with a big win in Philadelphia.

With seven games remaining and the NFL calendar starting to get serious about playoff situation and scenarios, the 6-3 Redskins are in the driver's seat in the division. 

"I think the good thing being 6-3, being in first place is we control what we have to control. We don’t have to look at the other teams, we just have to focus on what we do and if we do our job, we don’t have to worry about anything," head coach Jay Gruden said Monday. 

And he's right. The Redskins have built a cushion in the division, and if they keep winning at a .667 clip, nobody can catch them.

Here's the NFC East update:

  1. Washington Redskins (6-3, 2-0) - This team isn't winning pretty, and they certainly don't make many highlight plays on offense, but the Washington formula for victories is working. At +11, the Redskins are 3rd in the NFL in turnover margin and they own a defense that doesn't give up many points. Fans can debate if the offense is too limited, but for now running the ball and playing strong defense is piling up wins. Washington hasn't been 6-3 since 2008. Another large test looms on Sunday when Houston comes to FedEx Field, riding a six-game win streak. Up next: Nov. 18th vs Texans,1 p.m.
  2. Dallas Cowboys (4-5, 2-1) - Things have been a roller coaster in Big D. Two weeks ago it looked like the Cowboys season might spiral out of control after a blowout loss at home to the Titans. Speculation began to mount about the future for head coach Jason Garrett. A week later, after a major win in Philly on Sunday Night Football, Cowboys fans are back focused on the playoffs, not firing their coach. Dallas has built an impressive young defense, though the offensive struggles remain. Similar to the Redskins, Dallas has one of the worst pass games in the NFL but relies on running the football. Up next:  Nov. 18th @ Atlanta, 1 p.m. 
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5, 1-1) - At no point this season have the Eagles looked like the same 2017 juggernaut that won the city's first-ever Super Bowl. Much of that was chalked up to injury, particularly Carson Wentz working back from a knee injury last year, and new parts on defense. The Eagles had a Week 8 bye, made a trade to acquire WR Golden Tate, and were facing the slumping Cowboys in Week 9. All signs pointed to a big Eagles win and the Philly machine getting back on track for the second-half of the 2018 season. Only it didn't happen. The Eagles haven't won two games in a row yet this season, and road games against the Saints and the Rams are still on deck. Up next: Nov. 18th @ New Orleans, 4:25 p.m.
  4. New York Giants (2-7, 0-3) - The Giants doubled their season win total with a road win in San Francisco over the 49ers. It was a good victory, but hardly impressive. The Niners are equally bad and currently starting their 3rd-string QB. Still, Odell Beckham remains optimistic for his New York squad and thinks the team could go on a undefeated streak to close out the season. It's not realistic considering the offensive line and Eli Manning's play at quarterback, but it's a nice theory. The Giants are 0-4 at home and 0-3 in the division. Up Next: Nov. 18th vs Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

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