Back in 2012, the Washington Redskins drafted two quarterbacks. They traded a boatload of picks to the then St. Louis Rams, for the second overall pick and drafted Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin was supposed to be Washington’s saviour, and was supposed to lead them into an era of successful football in Washington.
After winning rookie of the year in 2012, and leading Washington to their first playoff berth since 2007, Griffin’s career in Washington came crashing down very fast because of injuries & the strong play of his backup Kirk Cousins, whom the Redskins drafted in the fourth round in the same draft.
And now Griffin is a free agent, and has been since his horrible stint with the Cleveland Browns in 2016. His time in the NFL is almost certainly over. Kirk Cousins, on the other hand, is the starting quarterback for Washington, has been franchise tagged 2 years in a row, and is going into his final off season of franchise tag eligibility.
But its not a certainty that Washington uses the tag. And if they don’t, where will he go? I thought it would be interesting to look at 7 possible destinations for the 4th year starter. Although the Cleveland Browns need a quarterback more than anyone else in the NFL, they aren’t on this list because they hold the number one pick in the 2018 draft and they can’t possibly pass on Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen.
This is the most likely option. Washington has all of the control, with the ability to franchise tag their starting quarterback. However, the last 2 off seasons Cousins and Washington haven’t been able to agree to a long-term deal and a lot of people in the football world believe Cousins doesn’t want to sign a long-term deal with the team. If that’s the case, Washington might be smart to trade Cousins before he hits unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of next season.
Carson Palmer is gone. Bruce Arians is gone. Larry Fitzgerald might not be back. Arizona is hitting the reset button in many ways. First, they need a head coach. After that they need to find someone to play under center. Whoever comes into coach the Cardinals, he’ll probably want to move on from Drew Stanton and get his own guy to build Arizona around.
Kirk could be the guy, but they also hold the 15th overall pick in a draft that has 2 quarterbacks that could slide to #15. Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen will all be gone by the time they pick, but Heisman winner Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s LaMar Jackson should still be there if Arizona decides to get their guy in the draft.
Jay Cutler is a free agent, Matt Moore isn’t very good and there’s a bunch of question marks surrounding the health of Ryan Tannehill. If Tannehill is healthy, they’ll probably give their highly paid quarterback another shot. But if they choose to move on, Miami might look to a veteran instead of using their 11th overall pick on a quarterback. They have a lot of other needs, so it seems likely they stay with Tannehill although there is a chance they decide to bring in a healthier, more successful quarterback.
New York Giants
Last season was one to forget for the New York Giants. They finished 3-13, dead last in the NFC East, fired their GM and head coach, and sat Eli Manning toward the end of the year. Most people would say the Giants and Manning are set to move on from each other, so they’ll need someone else under center.
They do hold the #2 overall pick and it seems likely that they’ll use it on Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold but even if they do they may want to bring in a veteran to show their young franchise quarterback the ropes. And plus, imagine Kirk Cousins and OBJ dishing it on the field; it would be a sight to see.
Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian are under contract for next season but they combined for a 72.6 average QB rating last season. Denver might give Lynch another chance because he only started 2 games last year due to injuries.
However, if they choose to move on, Cousins could be a good veteran add for a team that isn’t too far from being able to compete in the AFC West. They have a really good defense, a running game that can get the job done and two wide receivers that could tear up opponents secondaries if they have the right guy throwing them the ball.
Tyrod Taylor probably isn’t the long-term answer in Buffalo. Although he – in conjunction with Nathan Peterman – led Buffalo to its first playoff berth since 1999, he didn’t show up for their 10-3 loss to Jacksonville in the wild card game.
They have a lot of holes in their offense, but it starts with quarterback. Buffalo’s offense was ranked 26th in offensive efficiency and Taylor himself ranked 26th in passer efficiency. Cousins would be a good match for Buffalo wideout Kelvin Benjamin and they have the cap space, and two first round draft picks, to draft Cousins another receiver he can build a repertoire with.
New York Jets
Josh McCown is a free agent and 38 years old, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty don’t appear to be legitimate options, and the Jets own the 6th overall pick with a legitimate chance at one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the draft. But maybe the Jets, like the New York Giants, could use a veteran to show their young quarterback the ropes in the NFL.
An added bonus? The Jets have over $80 million in cap space heading into this off season with only Demario Davis to resign so if Cousins wants that long term deal the Jets have the money to make it happen.
When it’s all said and done, Cousins will probably be tagged by Washington. However, he could get hit with a non-exclusive tag which would give him the opportunity to negotiate with any team and if he were to agree to a deal with another team, and Washington chose to not match it, the Redskins would see compensation in the form of draft picks. If he does get hit with the exclusive franchise tag, it will take a trade for Cousins to be wearing a different jersey next season, than he’s worn the previous 4.