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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

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Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

It's never easy to say goodbye to a well-liked coworker, especially when that employee has been fired. In the NFL, that's no different. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden opened up about the departure of former GM Scot McCloughan while speaking with reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

"I was disappointed. I liked Scot. I liked working with Scot. He’s a good person, and a great talent evaluator," Gruden said.

The highly publicized demise of McCloughan as Redskins general manager made plenty of headlines, but as far the organization goes, Gruden believes the team is still in good shape.

"Any time you lose somebody that you become close with, whether it’s a coach or a GM or a player it's disappointing but at the end of the day in pro football, anybody that’s been around it long enough understands, change is going to happen and you have to react and adjust to it and move forward with a positive outlook," Gruden said.

Part of that positive outlook stems from moves the team has made this offseason.

Offensively the franchise brought in a big new weapon in receiver Terrelle Pryor. Paired with 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, assuming he's healthy, the Redskins could have two dynamic pass catchers to offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. On the defensive line, Gruden thinks new players Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee can emerge as solid players with high upside. Further, Gruden made clear he thinks new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will make the players on the 'Skins roster into better defensive linemen.

For many fans it's hard to remain optimistic after the controversy that surrounded McCloughan's ouster, but on the field, there's little reason to expect the 'Skins to slide.

In 2016, the team finished one game out of a playoff berth, losing a disappointing final game to the Giants to seal that fate. In 2017, Gruden expects to be right back in the playoff hunt.

"I think everybody in this organization has a positive outlook," Gruden said. "We are going to miss Scot, obviously, but we’re also positive that we can get things we need to get done to be successful."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

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