Posted December 15, 2013

Mike Shanahan: Kirk Cousins could bring a first-round pick in trade

Washington Redskins
Mike Shanahan's ultimate plan for Kirk Cousins may involve a return on investment. (The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Mike Shanahan’s ultimate plan for Kirk Cousins may involve a return on investment. (The Washington Post/Getty Images)

While we’re all trying to figure out just what Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is thinking with his plan to bench quarterback Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the 2013 season, it appears that the coach may have an interesting ulterior motive. It’s been said that the Griffin benching could be due to anything and everything, from RGIII’s performance to Shanahan’s desire to stick it to owner Dan Snyder before he’s inevitably fired at (or before) the end of the season. Even Shanahan’s son Kyle, the team’s offensive coordinator, doesn’t really get the thought process.

But as the elder Shanahan said on Friday during his weekly appearance on Washington D.C.’s ESPN radio affiliate, there’s another game afoot — upping the potential trade value for ex-backup Kirk Cousins, who is now the team’s starter for the rest of the season. Several current NFL personnel men are reportedly on board with the idea that Cousins, selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of Michigan State, might bring a second-round pick were he to be traded.

Shanahan is banking for more.

“If he lights it up, hey, maybe we can bring a first-round draft choice back to this organization, and say hey, who are we gonna take in the first round?” Shanahan said of Cousins (via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post). “And I think by him playing and Robert not playing, it gives us a chance to have a few options for our organization that we wouldn’t normally have, and the safety of our quarterback going into the offseason is preserved….And we’re still getting a chance to see a guy that we’ve got a lot of confidence in go out there and play. And his value can only go up. It cannot go down. It can only go up.”

Well, that’s not really the case. Cousins first showed up in everybody’s radar in the Redskins’ 38-21 win over the Cleveland Browns last Dec. 21, when he subbed for an injured Griffin and completed 26 of 37 passes for 329 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against a defense that finished 20th against the pass in Football Outsiders’ metrics. This a week after he threw a touchdown pass in Washington’s 31-28 win over the Baltimore Ravens — a game in which Griffin’s knee issues really started. When he came in late in the Redskins’ wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks after Griffin suffered yet another knee injury, he completed three of 10 passes for 31 yards. In his NFL career, Cousins has completed 45 of 73 passes for 573 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

And it’s Shanahan’s apparent belief that Cousins will somehow play himself into an increased trade value behind an offensive line porous enough to have Shanahan shelving his marquee starter for protection reasons? Evidently, that’s the logic here.

It’s easy to see why the Redskins would want to grab some draft picks back — they gave up their first-rounders in 2013 and 2014 for the right to move up in the 2012 draft and take Griffin second overall. But unless Cousins shows the NFL something no one has yet seen from him, he’s going to be perceived by most to be a high-quality backup and spot starter in the Matt Flynn/Kevin Kolb mold … and nothing more. History works against the Redskins, as well — the amounts given up for Kolb and Flynn by the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks in potential-over-production swaps that did not end well should have all NFL general managers proceeding with extreme caution when gauging the value of this quarterback type.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network recently spoke with two NFL personnel men about Cousins’ potential value, and the consensus seemed to be that while Cousins is a safe addition to any roster, he’s also a replaceable talent.

Still, as an AFC personnel man told Breer, it only takes one team to think far outside the box and see Cousins as a true starter worthy of a first-round pick. Cousins has three games to meet that potential hype.

45 comments
dchiu2013
dchiu2013

Youngest OC hired by a NFL team. Daddy phoned in favors for his son to begin his coaching career. Its time kyle proves he is his own man and worthy of coaching success. 

kendp
kendp

I'm going to be interested in how the Redskins play today.  In the press conference after he was named starter, he talked about how the team was going to help him and he was going to help them.  Talk like that has not been heard by the players since RGIII got there.  I have wondered if  the number of times RGIII has been sacked this year was at least partly due to lack of effort on part of the other players to protect him.

Thomas15
Thomas15

cousins is matt flynn. What idiot franchise would trade a #1 pick for him? 

RichardCHamilton
RichardCHamilton

Just what has Cousins done to move from a 3rd or 4th rounder to a first rounder?

GregoryStroud
GregoryStroud

first round pick? Don't make me laugh. No disrespect to Cousins, but a second rounder and maybe a little extra is all they could get. The whole point of this quote is to stir the pot and the best way to stir the pot is to get a headline, and the truth - a second rounder for a prospect - isn't getting anyone a headline.

John339
John339

I have been a big Cousins fan since I watched him light-up my Browns last year. If neither Blake Bortles of Central Florida or Derek Carr of Fresno State are available when the Browns select. ( somewhere between 6-9 in the first round) then I would offer the Skins our high second rounder for Cousins. If he lights it up these last three games the Browns also possess the Colts first rounder (23-27) that would satisfy the Washington.

Ed16
Ed16

Only if the Redskins trade with themselves. No other team is that stupid.

ki.nazir72
ki.nazir72

Let Shanahan go to Houston, take Cousins his real QB choice and give the Skins the 1st pick and everyone can go away, problem solved. I know, I know, some wise guy got a better solution (lol)!

Matthew W
Matthew W

RGme, hey its Dan your boss. So when I fire Shanahan for not treating you as the God that you are, who do you want me to hire in his place?



Good luck with Vince Young 2.0 skins fans!

TChara
TChara

23 years ago headlines: John Elway lost millions of endorsements when Doug Williams won Super Bowl. 1 Christian coach had the moral strength to build a strong O line, safe locker room to give all people in DC the only Winning Afro Amer. SuperBowl QB ever in a league of 80% diversity. Joe Gibbs didn’t call plays & protection that would result in sacks, hurries for unwanted QB, he didn’t leak QB criticism to media to setup a QB shutdown and humiliation of most celebrated Afro American rookie QB ever. He treated J Campbell, D Williams with respect as much as possible in a league craving for the shameful status quo. Thanks J Madden, M Irvin, k. Warner for integrity wish you had the 14 million to give Coach to ride off into the sunset. Maybe owner will bring in a good team for stability and honor instead of money.

David102
David102

One QB injury in the next three games could change the picture entirely. If you're a good team with playoff expectations in 2015, Kirk Cousins might be worth a low first rounder while your star is rehabbing. He'd earn respect from day one, say the right things and keep your playoff hopes alive.

George S1
George S1

Its a shame but what will happen is Dan Synder will fire Shanahan and chose RG3's hand picked successor who will not challenge Robert to become better but do whatever Robert wants. I hope Kurt dose well and is traded for his sake. Robert Griffin needs to grow up and become a man and forget his press clippings. Dan Synder, keep Mike and let him control the team and the QB. Get some players to go with Robert and some defensive play makers. PS a new special teams guy 

Tubro
Tubro

Everyone is so focused on RGIII and Shanahan, they seem to forget the Skins woeful defense and special teams. The Skins often "win" the off-season with pricey free agent signings and good draft spots but continually display ineptitude when evaluating talent and gauging player value. If they score a good trade for Cousins they should consider trading down and build some depth instead of always trying to hit a home run like they did with their RGIII pick.


My team will break your heart every off-season, trading away favorite players when they become old or over-valued. They rarely get high draft spots. But good talent evaluation, smart use of compensatory picks, and maintaining depth has gotten them into the playoffs each of the last 5 yrs. Even the Bengals have finally figured this out.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Maybe Washington can get a number one pick PLUS Albert Haynesworth. How's that one sound?

FLAdomer
FLAdomer

Shanahan you are an a$$! Cousins is our best bet to move this team forward and you leaving is what we need not Kirk! RGme stinks and is getting beat to death in your son's stupid offense scheme. Go get Cutler to back up RGme and ship RGme to Chicago.

CraigBarker
CraigBarker

I would like to see Cleveland land him for a 2nd Rd pick. They need a guy who knows how to play in the cold and he did that at MSU. They would be in good shape if they landed Sammy Watkins to go with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.

Jerkzilla
Jerkzilla

Cousins is better than anythimg the Jets have had at qb since Pennington.

DugoutBoyz
DugoutBoyz

Doug...Doug...Doug  Think for yourself and stop being a lemming.Stop following all the other writers.


Shanahan benched Griffin because the past two games he's regressed so much that the only way to say it is....HE STINKS!


He's giving him the benefit of the doubt and will expect a healthier Griffin to show up next season with a little more confidence and understanding of what the Shanahan system...one that was built around RGIII...is and how it supposed to work.


In the meantime, itf the petulant owner decides to fire him, he will have 3 games to show the world that it was the quarterback and not the coaching that gave us 3-10 up to this point in the season.

PWINGS
PWINGS

Shanny is basically doing this to embarrass Snyder off so he'll fire him. The implication is that the team is in such desperate straits (which it clearly is) that it needs to gather draft picks by any means possible. This is necessary because Snyder gave up so many draft picks to get the right to draft RGIII. Of course, if they trade Cousins and RGIII gets hurt again, who leads the team then? Rex Grossman? How many wins could he generate in a stretch run like Cousins did last year? How high a draft pick would he fetch in trade? How likely (probable) is it that RGIII will get hurt again? Everything that Shanny said is true, of course, but why would he say it publicly when the implication is so embarrassing to the team owner? Because 1) he wants to make it clear who created this situation and in doing so 2) he wants Snyder to fire him.


(Sanitized version for censors)

j7apple
j7apple

One of Redskins QB's could bring first round value.

Cool
Cool

He may not be the best at coaching but he certainly knows how to pull all the right strings.  Give him credit for saying things that actually make sense.  Remember that everyone was calling him out for playing RGIII, who was hurt, and not thinking about the players best interest.  Now he protects his "star player" and suddenly everyone wonders why he isn't thinking in the best interest of the team.  It is a no win situation for him.  This little scenario he now presents might be considered genius if Cousins does out perform expectations.  Remember how crazy we all thought Al Davis was for saying Kiffen was incompetent?   Sometimes even crazy people get it right.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

This is the first thing out of Shanny's mouth that makes sense in a long while.

Roy1
Roy1

@John339 Browns QB situation better than people think it is ... when Weeden isn't on the field.

Roy1
Roy1

@John339 Why is Cousins so obviously better than Campbell/Hoyer?  

PritchBomb
PritchBomb

@TChara RGIII stinks right now and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin. The coach is doing his job, which does not include protecting the fragile ego of his second year quarterback who is more celebrity than substance.

Nine Vegetable
Nine Vegetable

@David102 I'm sorry but that's just insane.  Nobody picks a first rounder (low or high) with the expectation of him being a backup.  If your first round pick is a backup, he's a bust.  So if you are trading your first round pick for a backup QB, you are an idiot.

j7apple
j7apple

@David102 The thoughts of not letting Cousins finish his contract is insane. Look around the league, how many backups are playing, or  now playing because the starter was benched.  Cousins is a very good insurance policy right now.

PWINGS
PWINGS

@Tubro   "....But good talent evaluation, smart use of compensatory picks, and maintaining depth has gotten them into the playoffs each of the last 5 yrs. Even the Bengals have finally figured this out."

If Mike Brown can figure that out, there's hope for every hubcap in the junkyard. Of course,a hubcap doesn't have JJ or Danny Boy's ego clouding their thinking either.

Cool
Cool

@Rickapolis  Thanks for the laugh! I think Haynesworth and Clowney on the same team would be exceptional.  Sitting on the bench complaining about the coaches not knowing how to use them properly. (As they try to catch their breath after jogging from the locker room to the bench.).

KeithKoloff
KeithKoloff

@FLAdomer RGMe? You sound like a little kid. His name is Robert Griffin .The domer name fits you perfectly 

PWINGS
PWINGS

@FLAdomer   "....Go get Cutler to back up RGme and ship RGme to Chicago."

Huh? Are you saying "Go get Cutler to back up Cousins and ship RGme to Chicago"? RGIII can't be in Chicago and D.C. at the same time!

MaryStricker
MaryStricker

@FLAdomer If you watch the film and even the breakdown of film by QB's like Steve Young, Jaworski, Marino, etc...you would see that RG3 is hanging on to the ball when he has (by NFL standards) open men down the field...That is why he is getting beat to death.

Twen15
Twen15

@CoolI hate being on the side of Dan Snyder but Shanahan is just trying to get fired (which allows him to collect the rest of his contract) as opposed to resigning which would cut off his paychecks. He's doing everything he possibly can to antagonize Snyder.

Wired
Wired

@j7apple @David102 Or he's poised to be matt flynn 2.0  -- a decent..only decent college quarterback - who had a good game or two - who will get paid huge - and fail miserably.

FLAdomer
FLAdomer

@MaryStricker @FLAdomer Shanahans offense runs too many fake downs on the DE and RGme ends up running the majority of the time instead of pulling it back and looking downfield! He also tries to block 300 pound DE's on reverses when he has no business doing it i.e Giants game.

PWINGS
PWINGS

@FLAdomer@PWINGS  Oh, and 

3) Why would you (how could you) afford to pay Cutler that much money to be a backup? Spend that money to get a couple of serviceable offensive linemen or cover DB's in free agency instead. A better investment!

PWINGS
PWINGS

@FLAdomer@PWINGS  The logic of your argument aside, if Washington actually tried to do that, it would announce two things to the world:

1) RGIII is damaged goods and we have lost confidence in him (immediately reducing his trade value) and 

2) Danny Boy screwed up in giving up so much to get RGIII to begin with (an admission Danny Boy's ego will NEVER allow).

Otherwise, it's an interesting idea.