Jay Gruden made one thing clear in his introductory press conference with the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III is the starting quarterback for the future with the team. This is no surprise to anyone, but once again brings up the career of Kirk Cousins. The backup quarterback has certainly shown his potential to be a starter in the league, so does Washington look to trade him for quality in return?
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Redskins fans can guarantee one thing in the 2014 season, there will be no benching of Griffin. Gruden will not move the quarterback off the field unless something serious happens. Shanahan received a lot of criticism for not playing the quarterback at the end of the season, but Gruden will not take that approach.
"Robert Griffin III is the starter," Gruden said, via Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan. "There will be no competition. I see toughness. I see a guy that wants to win and I see a strong leader. I see every trait a quarterback has to have to be successful. Why wouldn't you want to coach a guy like that? I'm excited to coach him. Hopefully he's excited to play here."
So where does that leave Cousins? In his limited times as a starter, Cousins has put up 1,320 yards and eight touchdowns on a 56.2 completion percentage. Prior to getting fired, former head coach Mike Shanahan said he believed the Redskins could command a first-round draft pick for the quarterback. Washington does not have a first-round pick this upcoming draft after a trade, so getting that would be crucial, but likely a longshot considering Cousins was a fourth-round pick originally.
"If he lights it up, hey, maybe we can bring a first-round draft choice back to this organization, and say hey, who are we gonna take in the first round," Shanahan said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. "And I think by him playing and Robert not playing, it gives us a chance to have a few options for our organization that we wouldn't normally have, and the safety of our quarterback going into the offseason is preserved. . . . His value can only go up. It cannot go down. It can only go up."
This year's draft is very quarterback heavy with talent like Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles all expected to go in the first round. Former Redskins executive Vinny Cerrato believes a lot of team might shy away from Cousins, hesitant to put stock in a quarterback with limited starting experience. However, for teams like Houston, Oakland and Minnesota that have a semi-talented player already on the roster, a trade for Cousins could work.
Cerrato believes that if anything, Cousins commands a second-round draft pick. However, he believes the Redskins best move is to keep him as insurance. Griffin likely will get injured again at some point and Cousins will be ready to start.
"It might be better for them to keep Cousins for another year," Cerrato said. "Keeping Cousins there might help them more than getting a late two, something like that. I don't know that trading him is the best thing. You have a guy that hasn't played 16 games yet."