RICHMOND - Looking at the contracts for the two most important people associated with the Washington Redskins, a clear discrepancy arises. The head coach, Jay Gruden, is under contract until 2020. The quarterback, Kirk Cousins, is only under contract for 2017.
Some speculation suggested that, given the diverging deals, at some point Gruden might look to develop another passer that's locked in with the Redskins for the long-term. Backup QB Colt McCoy is under contract for the next two seasons, and second-year passer Nate Sudfeld is under team control through the 2019 season.
Gruden made clear that isn't the case. Crystal clear.
"We're focused on Kirk," the head coach said. "He's our starter and he's going to get all the starter reps. Period."
Cousins should obviously be the focus. In the past two seasons he's twice broken the Washington single season passing yards record, and his rise has coincided with the Redskins first back to back winning seasons in 20 years.
As for practice reps, Cousins will get the vast majority. McCoy will get work, and Sudfeld too, but this Redskins team is focused on winning this season. 2018 contracts are not on the coach's mind in July of 2017, nor should they be.
"Colt [McCoy] will take advantage of his reps, I'm sure he will. And Nate [Sudfeld] will get a few sprinkled in there. We're trying to develop Nate also for the future. But, this is Kirk's team right now, and it's our job to get him ready for Philadelphia and really surround him and make him feel good about the people around him. Trying to get him used to [Josh] Doctson, get him used to [Terrelle] Pryor, we have some new weapons around him, so it's a matter of getting him ready. But Kirk will get all of them."
With a rebuilt defense and plenty of options offensively, the Redskins should compete for a playoff spot this year. Is there a scenario where the team sputters and spirals into a lost season? Maybe. And in that hypothetical scenario, perhaps at some point it makes sense to see what another passer can do. It's a long shot.
For Redskins fans, know that Cousins is the unequivocal starter. Period.
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Kyrie Irving has reportedly given the Cavaliers four teams - the Heat, Spurs, T'Wolves and Knicks - which he would prefer to be traded to, but that has not stopped the Boston Celtics from expressing interest. That's according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported this on Friday:
The Celtics are monitoring, but it's unclear how aggressive they'll get -- and how motivated the Cavaliers would be to make a deal with their fiercest conference rival.
Okay, this is an interesting one to dissect on many accounts, including from the perspective of those who follow the Wizards. At first blush, of course the Celtics make sense for an Irving trade. They, as you may have heard, have plenty of tradable assets, so many that they got panned for not trading for stars like Paul George and Jimmy Butler when they were available.
But Irving is a very intriguing fit for Boston if (and pretty much only if) they part with Isaiah Thomas in such a deal. It does not seem like Thomas and Irving could play with each other, given how handicapped the Celtics would be in terms of size on the defensive end of the floor.
What if they traded places, though? Say the Celtics shipped Thomas and another piece to Cleveland for Irving. Another piece may need to be involved on Boston's end because Thomas has one year left on his contract compared to two plus a player option for Irving. If they traded places, the Cavs would replace Irving with an even better scorer at the same position. Meanwhile, the Celtics would get a similar player under contract for an extra year.
From the Wizards' perspective, any deal involving those two teams would be fascinating. Depending on what you think of the Raptors, the Cavs and Celtics could be the only two teams in the East who will be favored over Washington entering the 2017-18 season. A deal could work out well for both sides, or it could disrupt what they already had going and be a net positive for the Wizards.