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Need to Know: Why RG3 won't sign with the Cowboys

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Need to Know: Why RG3 won't sign with the Cowboys

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 19, five days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Why RG3 won’t go to the Cowboys

The next team that Robert Griffin III will play for is already set, according to the conventional wisdom of many fans and members of the media. He is going to sign with the Dallas Cowboys and back up Tony Romo until the veteran retires and then RG3 will become the starting QB in Big D.

There are many reasons why RG3 to Dallas is inevitable. He’s from Texas. When the Redskins played in Dallas in the season finale there were some fans on the sideline with RG3 No. 10 Cowboys jerseys on. He would be welcomed with open arms. Jerry Jones likes high-profile players he certainly was dazzled by what Griffin did to his team in his house on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. The Cowboys need a backup quarterback and Griffin will be available when the Redskins release him sometime between now and March 9.

It’s all too perfect except for one thing—it’s not going to happen.

For one thing, it makes no sense once all of the hoopla is done and the players actually have to take the field and play games. If (when?) Romo gets injured again, Griffin is exactly the wrong person to come in and help the Cowboys win games.

Here is the way that Jean-Jacques Taylor, who covers the Cowboys for ESPN.com and knows the Dallas offense much better than I do, put it in a recent post:
What you must understand is that the Cowboys run a timing-based passing scheme, built around quarterbacks throwing the ball just as the receiver makes his break. No way, based on what we've seen during his four-year NFL career, could Griffin successfully run the Cowboys' offense.
Taylor noted that a member of the Cowboys front office said that In December one member of the Cowboys' front office said, “Griffin was an even worse fit in the Cowboys' offense than [Johnny] Manziel". Taylor concluded by saying, “Someone will give Griffin a chance, but it won't be the Cowboys.”

Not only would Griffin with a star on his helmet not work for the Cowboys, it wouldn’t work for Griffin either. Romo is the established starter in Dallas. He turns 36 in a couple of months which is getting up there in years but far from ancient. Yes he was injured most of last year but that happens. Romo is not a particularly fragile; he had missed a total of two games in the four years leading up to the 2015 season. The backup might get a start here and there but steady work is unlikely.

A chance for Griffin to be the starter is at least a couple of years away. Romo's contract locks him into Dallas for at least two more years, with prohibitive amounts of dead cap in 2016 ($31.9 million) and 2017 ($19.6 million). Maybe they could consider letting him go in 2018 when the dead cap drops to “only” $8.9 million. Of course, they could restructure the deal again and push even more money into later years, again increasing the dead cap to a prohibitive amount.

But even given the shorter, two-year time frame during which Griffin would have to show that he is a better alternative than Romo, will RG3 want to wait that long? He would be entering his age 28 season. It’s not impossible to establish yourself in your late 20’s—Kirk Cousins breakthrough season came last year at the age of 27. But a guy who was driven, perhaps to the point where it was against common sense, to recover from a torn ACL in time for the 2013 season opener doesn’t seem like a guy who would willingly sign on knowing he would have to wait at least two years to be The Man.

To be sure, there aren’t any teams where Griffin could walk in and be the starter. But there are plenty of places where the QB situation is much shakier than it is in Dallas. I count seven—the Jets, Browns, Texans, Broncos, Eagles, Rams, and 49ers. There could be a few more that are under the radar right now. Not all are fits in terms of scheme and culture but all of them are more likely to have Griffin in a situation he plays more in 2016 than he would in Dallas and is more likely be the starter going into 2017 than he would be with the Cowboys.

Not the right situation for the team, not right for the player. Other than those factors, the only ones that really matter, it’s the perfect fit.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 40 days ago. It will be about 206 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 5; NFL free agency starts 19; 2016 NFL draft 69

In case you missed it

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!