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Cousins trade window may extend past draft

Cousins trade window may extend past draft

The window for the Redskins to trade backup quarterback Kirk Cousins will open at 4 p.m. on March 11. It may not close for quite some time.

First, let’s give the obligatory update on the Cousins trade situation. He has said that he is “open” to being traded to a team where he can start. That’s all well and good but it’s really meaningless since the Redskins have the right to trade him or keep him as they please. For their part, the team has indicated that it is not planning to trade Cousins. Of course, that is the proper public stance to take to get maximum value in a deal.

Many are thinking that if the Redskins do deal Cousins, it will happen either before the May 8 draft or at some point during the draft. The Redskins lack a first-round pick and a second or third would help replenish their stock of selections.

However, the Redskins may want to wait until after the draft to make a deal. In fact, they might have to. Potential trade partners might want to see how the draft unfolds for them before calling. After the draft, teams that missed out on the QB’s they may have wanted might come calling. Or a team might get into minicamp and, after seeing how its signal callers perform on the field, decide it doesn’t like its situation at quarterback. They could then decide to call the Redskins and try to work out a trade for a 2015 draft pick.

If the Redskins don’t get an offer for Cousins that they believe returns sufficient value they could go to camp with him and wait to see if another team loses its starter to injury during the preseason. At that point they may be able to get maximum value from a team facing going into the season without a starting caliber quarterback.

It could even stretch into the regular season and a team that either suffers and injury to its starter or finds out that its Plan A at quarterback isn’t working could pick up the phone and call Redskins Park.

Of course, Cousins could end up being on the Redskins’ roster all season. If he is still a Redskin after the trade deadline they will have to trade him in 2015 if they want to get anything in return for him. After that season he will be a free agent and will be able to sign wherever he wants to.

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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