The Washington Redskins seemingly had a rather straight-forward NFL Draft experience over the three-day event. They entered with 10 picks and ended with 10 players, including first round selection Jonathan Allen even after one minor swap involving some late round selections. Yet at one point on Day 1 came a report of a potentially massive curveball, though later all sides involved stated there was never even a pitch.
Of course, this is in reference to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport's report from Thursday in the middle of round 1 that the Browns were trying to trade for Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. On the surface, the interest seemed logical, even though it apparently simply generated laughter from the involved parties. Cleveland remains without a clear QB starter and was armed with numerous draft picks including the No. 12 overall selection which at the time had not been used. The Redskins, though adamant about not wanting to deal Cousins, had not locked him into a long-term deal.
Cleveland remains without a clear QB starter and was armed with numerous draft picks including the No. 12 overall selection which at the time had not been used. The Redskins, though adamant about not wanting to deal Cousins, had not locked him into a long-term deal.
Reports from the Washington end immediately squashed the idea of the Redskins dealing Cousins, which of course wasn't the report. The angle had Cleveland pursuing the fifth-year QB. That angle was once again knocked down by Browns general manager Sashi Brown during a radio appearance Tuesday morning. From Cleveland.com:
"None. Zero,'' Brown told 92.3 The Fan on the Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima. "And nor ever have, so it's just one of these stories that won't die like many others.''
On draft day, Ian Rapoport reported that the Browns were trying to trade for Cousins, and tweeted, "This is real.''
Later, in his press conference after the Browns made their three first-round picks, Brown attributed the Cousins report to "bad reporting.''
He did say the Browns' top brass was aware of the report in the war room.
"It came across the ticker and we just laughed about it the way we do most of these stories that get reported out there, so it was what it was,'' he said. "It's the world we live in and try not to take it too seriously.''
There was also a hearty chuckle taking place in Ashburn, according to CBS Sports reporter Jason LaCanfora. "They were laughing inside the Redskins war room. I mean, laughing," LaCanfora told 106.7 The Fan this week.
What should be taken seriously is the Redskins situation. Maybe, maybe the two sides, meaning the organization and Camp Cousins, come together on a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline. Otherwise, Cousins plays the 2017 campaign on the Franchise tag and then becomes a free agent in 2018. The same scenario can unfold once again, but the tag's rising cost -- $34+ million -- makes it unlikely Washington could justify retaining their starting quarterback or at least have the team overpaying. Even the lower transition tag price of $28.78 million would probably make Cousins the highest paid player in the NFL.
It's why the Redskins likely needed to face reality and ship Cousins pre-draft elsewhere for ample compensation unless they really, really think they can make the Super Bowl this season. It's why checking in with the Browns or other teams was and arguably still is the right move. Nobody will be laughing if Cousins leaves next year with little in return. No game of telephone will distort that message.