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Need to Know: The Redskins need a quarterback to have a chance at the Super Bowl

Need to Know: The Redskins need a quarterback to have a chance at the Super Bowl

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 5, 32 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 24
—NFL Draft (4/27) 81
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 217

The Redskins week that was

After today nearly half of all the Super Bowls ever played will have passed by in succession without the Redskins having participated. Since Washington last participated the Cowboys have won three, the Giants two and the Eagles have been to one. The Bears have been once, the Panthers have been twice and the Saints have won one. So have the Buccaneers. The Cardinals had a chance to win one.

RELATED: Tandler's all-time Redskins Super Bowl team--Offense

If the Redskins had remained even a competitive team most they almost should have stumbled into one of the 50 Super Bowl spots that have been up for grabs since they beat the Bills in Minneapolis. But since 1991 they have had three seasons with double digit wins, all of them 10-win seasons, and 12 seasons with double-digit losses.

Part of the problem has been at quarterback. In the 25 seasons since their last Super Bowl appearance, 13 different quarterbacks have led the team in passing yards. If you look down the list of Super Bowl starters you will find many more in the Hall of Fame (John Elway, Joe Montana) or very good, long-term starter (Joe Theismann, Russell Wilson) categories than you find in the average or below club (Trent Dilfer, Rex Grossman).

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This does not mean that signing Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal will automatically get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Since 1991 they have finished in the bottom half in the league in points allowed 16 times including the last eight seasons in a row. But it is possible to have a solid defense while paying a quarterback in excess of $20 million as demonstrated lately by the Broncos, Panthers, and Seahawks, among others.

What it boils down to is drafting well and getting productive seasons out of low-wage players. Then when their rookie contracts are up the organization must make smart choices about who to keep on both sides of the ball. Even then, you have to stay healthy and get a break or two along the way. There isn’t a straight line from re-signing Cousins to the Super Bowl. But it’s a necessary starting point because if you don’t have a quarterback you don’t have a realistic chance.

Does it have to be Cousins? No. But good luck finding one in the free agent market. You could try to find one in the middle rounds of the draft, someone like Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott. But, wait, the Redskins already did that when they drafted Cousins in the fourth round. The Seahawks have had to give Wilson the big deal and the Cowboys will have to do so with Prescott in a couple of years.

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Exploring the different scenarios between the Redskins and Trent Williams

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USA Today Sports

Exploring the different scenarios between the Redskins and Trent Williams

Training camp comes for the Redskins near the end of July, and in mid-June, not much looks overly worrisome. Except for the Trent Williams situation.

As fans well know, Williams missed all of mandatory minicamp amid reports that the seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle was upset with his contract. There are also reports that Williams is upset with the Redskins medical staff, and one report that the former Top 10 pick "vowed" never to return to Washington. 

That's serious stuff.

Jay Gruden rotated between calling Williams the Redskins best player and one of the team's most important players when the coach spoke about the situation during minicamp. Regardless of the exact assessment, Williams is obviously important to the Redskins plans for 2019, and how good the team can possibly become. 

Looking to the fall, there are a few probable outcomes for the Williams situation to end. Here's a look at the possibilities:

  1. Redskins trade Trent Williams - This seems like quite a long shot, but not impossible. Williams has started 119 games in Washington since 2010, but just two playoff games in that time. He's a very valuable player, one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, and could obviously draw interest around the NFL. A trade seems quite unlikely, but if a contending team wanted to move for Williams, he might actually want to go. This doesn't seem likely until closer to Week 1, and it doesn't seem likely anyway. The Redskins won't be able to get close to equitable value for Williams on the trade market. 
  2. Redskins cut Trent Williams - There is zero chance this happens. Zero. ZEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
  3. Redskins make it work with Trent Williams - The reality of pro football doesn't bode great for Williams. He's under contract for two more seasons and the salary structure of the NFL means there isn't much money without game checks. All of that suggests Williams arrives for the Redskins somewhere in mid-August, perhaps after training camp in Richmond but well before Week 1 in Philadelphia. That doesn't mean, however, that the 'Skins couldn't make a goodwill offer to Williams. His deal in 2020 holds barely any guaranteed cash, and perhaps making more of his salary a certainty could help him come back to the fold. 
  4. Trent Williams never returns - This seems highly unlikely, but has been reported. Williams seems very angry at the Redskins medical staff based off his Instagram posts, and if he can't trust the doctors, maybe he can't play for the organization. Williams has made a tremendous amount of money during his NFL career, with nearly $100 million in career earnings, so never say never. 

 

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In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

Bryce Love hopes he'll have the opportunity to carry many footballs in his NFL career. But this past weekend, the running back picked up something that'll be just as, if not more, valuable than the attempts he'll be getting on Sundays.

How's a college diploma from Stanford sound? Pretty solid, right?

Oh, how about a college diploma from Stanford in human biology? Yeah, probably something worth hanging up on the ol' fridge, huh?

Well, that very hard-earned and impressive degree is what Love is now in possession of:

Drafted by the Redskins in late-April and walking across the stage at Stanford in mid-June, Love is doing well for himself recently. He passed up the chance to enter the draft early to ensure he graduated, and now he has.

His college GPA isn't known, but once you find out his high school GPA was 4.5 (that's apparently possible) and add that to the fact that he was able to finish up school out west while also churning up yards for the Cardinal, you can imagine it was very, very good. And if his yards-per-carry average as a pro matches or exceeds it, then the Redskins will be thrilled.

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