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How can Kirk Cousins 'win' a Redskins QB competition that never happened?

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How can Kirk Cousins 'win' a Redskins QB competition that never happened?

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Joe Theismann made some comments on the Redskins’ quarterback situation during the TV broadcast of the Redskins-Ravens preseason game last night. In case you didn’t catch them, here is the key part.

“It's going to be a decision that Jay Gruden is going to have to make," Theismann said. "Right now, Robert Griffin III is his quarterback. Now, if there was a quarterback competition, it wouldn't be a competition. Kirk Cousins would be the man I believe he would have to go to, because of the efficiency with which he has run (the offense).”

Well, maybe Joe, but here’s the thing. There wasn’t a quarterback competition. If there had been a quarterback competition then Cousins would have been in the game last night with some reps against Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Chri Canty, and other front-line Ravens defenders. As it was, those starters and the Ravens' other front-line players were in there and made life difficult for Griffin. They were gone when Cousins came into the game early in the third quarter.

And Griffin would have had his shots against the likes of Pernell McPhee, DeAngelo Tyson, and Kapron Lewis-Moore.

Had there been a competition then Cousins would have taken first-team reps in training camp against Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, DeAngelo Hall, and the rest of the defensive starters. He didn’t. And when the Patriots were in town, Cousins would have gone up against Darrell Revis, Brandon Browner, and Vince Wilfork. And Griffin would have had snaps against the Patriots backups.

Now let’s look at the other side the coin. Had there been a QB competition then Cousins would have played last night with Trent Williams at left tackle and he would have been throwing to Jordan Reed, Pierre Garçon, and DeSean Jackson last night. Griffin would have had some snaps with Tom Compton at left tackle and with Ryan Grant, Logan Paulsen, and Santana Moss as his primary pass targets.

We can debate all day who might have looked better surrounded by that talent and with those defensive matchup. However, the debate would be pointless. We have no way of knowing.

It makes no sense for Theismann to say that Kirk Cousins “won” the quarterback “competition” because there wasn’t one. It also would be illogical to say that Griffin would have “won”. We have no idea how it would have played out if Jay Gruden had conducted a competition. It’s just hypothetical.

The reality here and now is that it’s too late to have a QB competition even if Gruden was inclined to have one (and he’s not). How about if we deal with actual events instead of creating a phony QB controversy?

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Trent Williams promises that the best has yet to come from him

Trent Williams promises that the best has yet to come from him

If you took 100 random NFL fans and asked them to name the best player in the league, there's a very strong chance none of the 100 would say Trent Williams, the Redskins left tackle who clears paths like a snowplow. But according to an in-depth ranking system published a few weeks ago from Bleacher Report, Williams is in fact the correct answer.

The system, called NFL1000, is supposed to "bring exposure" to players who aren't as appreciated as they should be, and in the eyes of the analysts who built the rankings, no one should be appreciated more than Williams, who beat out Tyron Smith and Aaron Rodgers for the top spot. But that's still not the peak of his performance, the lineman says.

No. 71 apparently just got a hold of the NFL1000 list, and in a Wednesday Instagram post that featured it, he said his "best is yet to be seen." Sorry, opposing pass rushers.

In addition to that accolade from Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus chose Williams as their highest-rated offensive lineman, and the Professional Football Writers of America assigned him to their All-NFC team. It wasn't a perfect year for the Pro Bowler, however, as he was suspended for four games during a critical stretch in the season's second half (the Redskins were 2-2 without him).

Nevertheless, because an offensive lineman is often doing his job best when you aren't hearing his name called, it can be easy to take someone like Williams for granted. These types of awards, though, show the 28-year-old's value — value that he says will continue to climb in 2017. 

MORE REDSKINS: SETTING THE ODDS ON WHAT THE 'SKINS WILL DO WITH COUSINS

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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