The last team in the NFC East is also the team experts aren’t too sure about. Having won a division title last year, the Washington Redskins would seem primed for another run in 2013. It isn’t as simple as that. Their roster isn’t infallible, still possessing some weak areas and then there is the small matter of RGIII and the knee. It all adds up to an overwhelming feeling of pending regression. Could an NFL trade help avoid that.
One of the first things the Washington Redskins wanted to do in 2012 was find pass targets for the quarterback they knew they’d be drafting. Their two biggest acquisitions were Pierre Garcon from Indianapolis and Josh Morgan from San Francisco. Morgan drew views as a terrific second option for Robert Griffin III. However his season didn’t go as well as planned. In 15 starts he managed just 510 yards and two touchdowns despite several chances to take advantage of a dominant running game spurred by rookie Alfred Morris. Fans are rooting for Morgan to take the next step after hearing he played the season with torn hands in his ligaments, but that support only goes so far. He needs a good season or risks becoming just another journeyman, or worse a trade piece for low round draft picks.
No other player was as indispensable to Washington as Brian Orakpo. He was the focal point of their defense, the main source of their pass rush. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that the outside linebacker would get his lucrative contract extension before he hit free agency in 2014. Then the injury bug bit. A torn pectoral muscle robbed him of 14 games last season, putting his future in doubt, let alone the size of his wallet. If the team feels he is worth the new deal despite a projected $30 million in salary cap space next year, then attempting to trade him make the most sense. The last thing they want to do is let him go for nothing if possible. He is only 26 so the value is there, but it can be avoided provided he stays healthy.
The biggest trade asset Washington has ironically didn’t play much last year. Such is the power of the quarterback position. Kirk Cousins was taken three rounds after RGIII but played a very pivotal role in helping the Redskins make the playoffs. His poise, decisiveness and unexpected skill made him a minor celebrity in the capital. One thing that draws trade interest more than any other is young quarterbacks with winning experience. Cousins already has that and he turns 25 in August. Since the Washington Redskins have veteran Rex Grossman and the athletic Pat White on the depth chart, parting with Cousins could net them a first round draft pick from the right team, seeing as how they don’t have one in 2014 because of the Griffin trade. It all comes down to actual value and perceived value.