The Washington Redskins will enter the 2017 season with three quarterbacks under contract. Their positions on the team are known to almost everyone involved but could change at the backup level if Nate Sudfeld has a good camp.
Heading into his second year with the Redskins, Sudfeld has an interesting situation ahead of him currently. If he were to show that his skills have progressed significantly during preseason he could pass McCoy in the pecking order. Sudfeld has the distinction of being the quarterback current Redskins coach Jay Gruden handpicked in the sixth-round last season. Not much is known on how many other quarterbacks Washington passed on before letting Gruden choose Sudfeld, but rumors have stated it was quite a few as the team was never serious about drafting another signal-caller before the fifth round.
The Redskins front office has said time and time again that they stay committed to signing Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract. Currently, Cousins has agreed in principle to the second-straight franchise tag contract the Washington Redskins have offered him worth $24 million for one season. Cousins became the first quarterback in NFL history to play out the complete season on a one-year franchise tag deal for $19.95 million in 2016.
“There’s been constant dialogue, I don’t want to say it’s every day,” Bruce Allen said. “I do believe that July 15th, the league deadline, really, is going to be the driving point to it, but it’s ongoing.”
While putting up some impressive numbers over the last two years (9,083 yards passing with 54 touchdowns), Cousins (30) has elevated his name into the top 10 overall quarterback discussions among fans and ‘experts’ around the league. That being said, Cousins also has a darker side of his football career pre-2015 when he was careless with the ball, which led to interceptions (42 career INT’s) and lost games. Over the last two years, Cousins has displayed a complete effort and obviously a better ability to lead his team.
Some believe that if Colt McCoy wasn’t injury prone that he may give Kirk Cousins a run for his money in terms of the starting role in Washington. Colt is a natural in Redskins head coach Jay Gruden’s offensive scheme. The problem is McCoy just isn’t big enough or durable enough to play a full season in the National Football League without at least one injury shortening his season. On the other hand, McCoy is able to continue to bring in easy money as a non-playing backup, Cousins hasn’t missed a start since taking over as the number one quarterback for Washington before the 2015 season.
The thought that eventually Cousins might not re-sign with Washington is moot when you consider that the Redskins can tag him again next year (it’s expensive) with a third franchise tag or even the less expensive transition tag, which seems to be more of an option as each day passes. If the transition tag is the route the Redskins choose next Cousins (if he doesn’t sign a long term deal) would have two options at that point; sign the one-year deal or search out a new contract from another team via free agency. If he were to choose free agency the Redskins would then have first rights to match any offer made to him, meaning they could force his hand into a long-term deal or let him walk if they believe the offer isn’t worth matching.
Redskins fans shouldn’t fret too much, as the league moves closer to lock-out status, players who want more than just a one-year deal may become scarce. Free agency was filled with one-year deals all across the league this offseason as players see their chances for bigger deals coming in fewer years. With the salary cap growing each season some of these players are banking on cashing in when the time is right.
“I like Coach Jay Gruden’s quote where he said, ‘I’m not really worried about it because we got him for this year and that’s really all that matters,’” said Cousins. “That’s the way I’ve always felt. There are so many guys on this team on one-year deals. Even if it says it’s a three or four-year contract, really the only guarantees are this year. Many of us are playing on one-year deals. I’m not the only one and we’re not going to have careers if we don’t have a great year this year, so we all don’t look much further than this season.”
If somehow the Redskins cannot sign Cousins in 2018 or injury were to occur, the ‘fail-safe’ hope is that Sudfeld could step in and take over. The 6-6 Indiana product is viewed as a natural fit in Jay Gruden’s scheme but is lacking in experience and has shown nothing as of yet that would show he’s an NFL quarterback.
[Featured Image by David Banks/Getty Images]