Redskins want a second-round draft pick if they’re going to trade Kirk Cousins

February 19

The Redskins are said to want a second-round choice in a potential trade of Kirk Cousins (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The Washington Redskins want a second-round pick in the NFL draft if they are going to trade backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, according to a person familiar with the team’s planning.

It’s not clear how active the Redskins’ trade discussions with other teams regarding Cousins are at this point, or what other clubs might be willing to surrender in a trade for him. It also is not known if Redskins officials will remain adamant about wanting to receive a second-round choice for Cousins or if the team ultimately might be willing to part with him for a lesser compensation package.

The Redskins lack a first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft, thanks to the 2012 trade with the St. Louis Rams that enabled them to move up in the first-round order to select quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Redskins do have a second-round selection this year.

Cousins was a fourth-round choice in 2012 and has spent two seasons as Griffin’s backup. He started the Redskins’ final three games last season after Mike Shanahan, the team’s former coach, ended Griffin’s season early, saying he wanted to avoid the possibility of Griffin being hurt again.

Jay Gruden, Shanahan’s replacement, has said that Griffin is the team’s clear-cut starter. Cousins always has said he hopes to have a chance to be an NFL starter for some team at some point. But he also has said he is willing to wait patiently for that chance if necessary and do his best as Griffin’s understudy in the meantime. According to multiple reports, Cousins has not demanded a trade this offseason but has informed the Redskins that he would be open to a deal.

Griffin has failed to play all 16 regular season games in either of his two NFL seasons. Cousins started one game as a rookie in 2012 while Griffin was hurt, engineering a key victory at Cleveland during the Redskins’ stretch-drive run to an NFC East title. Griffin, coming off knee surgery last offseason, started the first 13 games last season before Shanahan’s shutdown of him.

Some observers feel the Redskins might be wise to keep Cousins for at least one more season as an insurance policy in case Griffin gets hurt again or fails to recapture his rookie-year form. That could be a particularly attractive option to the Redskins if teams are unwilling to give up an early-round draft choice for Cousins.

Another person close to the situation said Wednesday he has “no idea” if Cousins will be traded.

There has been speculation that the Browns could trade for Cousins after hiring former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as their offensive coordinator. But some within the league believe that is a long shot at best. The Browns have the fourth overall selection in the draft and could opt to get their young quarterback of the future that way.

Mike Shanahan raised the possibility last season of the Redskins getting a first-round selection for Cousins. But Cousins threw more interceptions than touchdown passes during his three-start audition at the end of the season, and some observers say it’s not clear to them whether quarterback-needy teams currently view Cousins as an option worthy of an early-round draft pick.

Cousins threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns in the first of those starts, a loss at Atlanta. But he threw two interceptions in that game. He totaled three interceptions and had one touchdown pass in the final two games, losses to the Dallas Cowboys at home and on the road to the New York Giants. Cousins failed to reach 200 passing yards in either of those games.

For the season, he had four touchdown passes and seven interceptions and he finished with a passer rating of 58.4. He has a passer rating of 68.6 in an NFL career in which he has eight touchdown passes, 10 interceptions and a completion percentage of 56.2.

NFL teams are permitted to make trades beginning March 11, which is also when the sport’s free agent market opens. The trade market for Cousins could be active then, and also leading up to the NFL draft in May.

Redskins officials are in Indianapolis this week for the NFL scouting combine.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

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Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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