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Report: New team emerges with interest in Kirk Cousins beyond Redskins, 49ers

Report: New team emerges with interest in Kirk Cousins beyond Redskins, 49ers

The Redskins intend to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. While the argument can be made whether or not Washington should sign Cousins to a long-term deal, the tag clearly shows the organization wants to keep their passer, at least for the 2017 season.

For weeks it's also been clear that the 49ers, with Kyle Shanahan now in charge, also want Cousins. If a deal can be worked out depends on a number of factors, but many around the NFL perceived San Francisco to be in an optimal situation in their pursuit of Cousins since they did not have another team chasing the 'Skins signal caller, and it seemed playing for Shanahan was Cousins desired choice. 

That may no longer be the case.

Enter the Cleveland Browns, a team that's had less quarterback success than the Redskins over the last 20 years. In fact, last year the Browns rolled out former 'Skins star Robert Griffin III as their starting quarterback to open the season. It didn't go well. 

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Does it make sense for Cleveland to be interested in Cousins? Absolutely. He would stabilize their QB position and give fans something to cheer for.

Is Cousins worth trading the No. 1 overall pick for, a selection the Browns hold? Texas A&M's Myles Garrett seems like a sure thing at No. 1, though it's hard for an edge rusher to have as much impact as a passer.

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This could be just rumor mill running amok as NFL teams settle into Indianapolis for the combine. What it certainly is, however, is good news for the Redskins. 

If a second team emerges in trade talks for Cousins, whether it's Cleveland, Chicago, or another QB-less franchise, leverage turns back to Washington. A second trade partner allows the Washington brass to drive the price up for their passer, who it increasingly seems like would only be in Burgundy and Gold for the 2017 season and not long-term.

It's also good news for the Cousins camp, with a quarterback in pursuit of a nine-figure contract. The more teams that Cousins' representatives can talk to about terms and guaranteed money the better. 

Expect many more rumors and reports over the interest level in Cousins from around the league. To any NFL fan, it's obvious how important a quarterback is for even a modicum of success.

Considering that teams will select QBs in the first round of the draft knowing full-well it's just a lottery ticket, especially in the 2017 Draft, trading for Cousins could make sense for multiple franchises. Watching the QBs available this year, that sense of desperation will sink in for some teams, and Cousins' star will shine even brighter. 

The Redskins botched a good opportunity to sign Cousins to a long-term deal last season. This year, the organization's patience and the smell of QB desperation around the bottom 10 franchises in the NFL, might present more trade options than originally thought. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins turned down Patriots offer of first-round pick for Trent Williams, per source

Redskins turned down Patriots offer of first-round pick for Trent Williams, per source

The Patriots offered the Redskins a first-round pick in a trade for disgruntled left tackle Trent Williams but Washington rebuffed the offer, a source with knowledge of the situation told NBC Sports Washington. 

Kevin Sheehan of Team 980 reported the same news Thursday morning on his radio show. 

That call from New England came a few weeks ago while the Redskins were holding training camp in Richmond, the source explained. The Patriots are no longer pursuing Williams. 

Washington has made clear they don’t intend to trade Williams, which makes sense publicly. Still, there have been at least three teams to contact the Redskins about trading for Williams. 

It’s believed the Redskins want a first and a second-round pick to move on from Williams, who is refusing to report to the team despite having two years left on his contract. 

The reports around Williams’ holdout have been significant, mainly centering around the suggestion that the seven-time Pro Bowler will not return to Washington due to a misdiagnosis from the team’s medical staff last season. 

Multiple sources near Williams have been clear that he will not return to the Redskins and will miss regular-season action. 

Earlier this week, Washington head coach Jay Gruden said there is no update on the Williams situation and he must prepare his team with the players that have reported. 

“It is what it is,” Gruden said.

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Jay Gruden wants to see a statement game from Case Keenum against the Falcons

Jay Gruden wants to see a statement game from Case Keenum against the Falcons

ATLANTA -- Through two games in the preseason Redskins head coach Jay Gruden can't be particularly impressed with his team. Thursday night could change that.

When the Redskins face the Falcons in the third and most important preseason game, Gruden could play his starters as much as the whole first half. In that time, there's plenty he wants to see from his team.

  1. No injuries - It might be redundant to put that at the top of each preseason article, but there is nothing more important for a coaching staff than to escape the meaningless preseason action without major injuries. It's football, guys are going to get banged up, but Washington cannot afford to lose any starters or key reserves in August action. Superstitious or not, Gruden is knocking on wood and lighting candles before his team takes the field in Atlanta.
  2. Making a case - With Colt McCoy out for an unknown period of time, Case Keenum is the presumed starting quarterback for the Redskins when the real action starts Week 1 in Philadelphia. With that in mind, it would be nice to see some offensive efficiency from Keenum. Against the Bengals last week, Keenum started hot but was undone by a few penalties that backed the Redskins up and away from the red zone. Keenum doesn't have a stranglehold on this job either, so it would be a wise move to prove to the coaching staff and Redskins fans that he should be on the field in Philly.
  3. Making a push - After Keenum comes rookie Dwayne Haskins. Through two games he hasn't been terrific, but he's shown flashes of being terrific. The 55-yard touchdown pass he threw last week to Robert Davis is the prettiest downfield toss from a Redskins QB in at least a year, and nobody questions the arm talent or potential of the former Ohio State star. While it seems unlikely Haskins will push for the starting job, with McCoy out, if Keenum struggles and Haskins shines, things could get interesting. It certainly bears watching if Haskins gets time with the first team on the field. 
  4. All the horses - Offensively the Redskins strength should be running the football, and for the first time in over a year, Derrius Guice should take the field in Burgundy and Gold. Gruden has been clear that he just wants to get Guice a few touches before the real action starts in about two weeks, and it makes sense as the charismatic running back is about a year removed from ACL surgery. Redskins fans should expect less than five carries from Guice, but it will be highly valuable to see him take on contact again. Guice, along with veterans Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson, could form a formidable backfield. 
  5. Keep it up - The starting defense didn't play much against the Bengals, but outside of some dumb penalties, that unit looked very good. The strength of the defense comes up front along the line, and that will get tested against a good Falcons offense. If the Redskins have real designs on a Top 10 defense, they need to prove it against Atlanta. These two teams met Week 9 last year, before Alex Smith was hurt and when the Redskins still looked like a playoff team. The Falcons scored 38 points and ran up nearly 500 yards of total offense in a runaway win at FedEx Field. Top 10 defenses don't give up 500 yards. 

Extra point - The Redskins special teams have been bad through two preseason games. Time to look better, especially with former special teams coach Ben Kotwica now on the Falcons sideline. 

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