The Washington Post

Redskins could be hesitant to trade Cousins following Griffin’s preseason struggles

Kirk Cousins gets set to pass during Saturday night’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

It wasn’t immediately clear if the St. Louis Rams planned to engage the Washington Redskins in possible trade talks regarding quarterback Kirk Cousins. But even if they do, it’s believed that Washington brass would be hesitant at this point to part with the third-year backup because of starter Robert Griffin III‘s preseason struggles, according to a person close to the situation.

The Rams learned on Sunday that quarterback Sam Bradford will miss the entire season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. It’s the same injury and the same knee that ended Bradford’s 2013 season.

The Rams had four quarterbacks on their roster, including 13-year veteran Shaun Hill, second-year pro Austin Davis and rookie Garrett Gilbert.

St. Louis Coach Jeff Fisher told reporters early Sunday afternoon that the team hadn’t yet begun investigating options regarding acquiring another quarterback with starting capabilities. But he added, “It doesn’t mean to say that we won’t, but we haven’t done it at this point.”

As of Sunday evening, two people familiar with the situation said that the Rams and Redskins weren’t believed to have engaged in talks yet.

Cousins – a third-year pro, who has appeared in eight games in the last two season while backing up Griffin – generated moderate trade interest this past offseason.

The Cleveland Browns offered a fourth-round pick (the same round in which Washington selected him out of Michigan State in 2012), but the Redskins believed that Cousins was too valuable to part with him at that price. A person familiar with those deliberations said at the time that Washington didn’t want to part with Cousins for anything less than a second-round pick.

Cousins this preseason has completed nearly 65 percent of his passes (35 for 54) for 370 yards, four touchdowns and one interception while sporting a 101.6 passer rating. The quarterback hasn’t hid the fact that he would like the opportunity to start. But he has never demanded a trade, and he has continued to go about his business in a professional manner.

One person close to the situation thought it unlikely that Washington would trade Cousins with Griffin struggling mightily as he tries to learn coach Jay Gruden’s system and develop into a pocket passer.

Griffin has completed 12 of 20 passes for a team-low 141 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions while sporting a 46.0 passer rating.

Coach Jay Gruden attempted to downplay Griffin’s struggles and on Saturday said that the team doesn’t have a quarterback controversy. The coach since accepting the job in January has continued to firmly stated that Griffin is his starter.

However, Gruden and the team’s decision makers think highly of Cousins. Last week, Gruden said the Redskins didn’t pull the trigger on a trade this offseason because they value Cousins as an insurance policy for Griffin, who has twice had his right knee reconstructed.

“He’s a good quarterback, and you don’t want to let quarterbacks out of your building if you don’t have to,” Gruden said. “Obviously there’s circumstances that could change that, but right now we’re happy with the quarterbacks that we have, and there’s no reason to change.”




Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.



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Mike Jones · August 24, 2014