They say it’s an effort to shut down Robert Griffin III in order to preserve his health for next season. While that is probably a true statement, it also could be a carefully organized plot by the Washington Redskins to increase the value of Kirk Cousins.
Weak NFL free agency of quarterbacks could make Cousins a hot commodity
Given the state of the season, there is no harm in playing the younger players for Washington. They have no first round pick and can only hurt themselves by playing prized veterans and risking injuries. However, there seems to be a sense of logic to benching Robert Griffin III for Kirk Cousins. First and foremost it keeps RGIII healthy, but it also gives the rest of the league an updated look at the second-year backup from MichiganState. Most remember his impressive appearances in relief last season when he went 2-1 and helped the Redskins to the playoffs. Many were taken by him even from preseason despite being a fourth round pick. Though not the most athletic player, he showed the kind of poise, confidence and decisiveness the best quarterbacks show. It was curious why the Redskins took him in 2012 so shortly after drafting RGIII, but if Cousins finishes 2013 strong, it might become clear why. Looking ahead to next year, the NFL free agency market is not expected to have a strong crop of quarterbacks available. So teams interested in finding help at the position will have to think about the draft or a trade. Those who would prefer a young player but with experience would automatically consider Cousins a prime target.
Redskins needs NFL draft picks to help Brian Orakpo on defense
The thing to remember is that franchise quarterbacks are the most valuable commodities in modern pro football. The Philadelphia Eagles got a second round pick and a starting cornerback for Kevin Kolb. That might sound ludicrous now, but at the time Kolb had performed well in the Eagles’ offense and was anxious for his own starting job. The Arizona Cardinals needed a quarterback badly and so made the deal. Washington is in a very similar position. Cousins is 25-years old and will have quality starting experience by the time the seasons ends under a proven offensive mind in Mike Shanahan. If he plays well, teams might clamor for a chance to add him rather than taking a risk in the 2014 NFL draft. A first round pick is possible for the Redskins, which would be ideal, but not very likely. More reasonably they could collect a second round choice and a quality mid round pick as well. No question they could greatly use both. Washington needs all sorts of work on their roster, especially the defense. Star linebacker Brian Orakpo is a threat to leave in free agency unless the team can convince him they are trying everything in their power to give him more help. Extra picks would allow them to add more talent to that side of the ball, thus taking pressure off him and the offense.
A lot has to happen between now and then. Still, Kirk Cousins has shown flashes of brilliance when given opportunities. The Washington Redskins can only hope that continues through the final three games.