The move that’s been talked about since week one finally went down – Robert Griffin III has been benched in favor of Kirk Cousins. No, it’s not because of his play on the field, it’s supposedly because Mike Shanahan doesn’t want to get him hurt with the Washington Redskins clearly out of playoff contention. The head coach has also made it clear that he intends to play Cousins the rest of the season. Naturally, everyone wants to know why?
Some believe this move by Shanahan is to anger Daniel Snyder in hopes that he’ll get fired. Others think it could be because of beef between he and RG3 or that this could be an audition for Cousins to win the starting job moving forward. It could certainly be any of those things. However, I believe the reason for starting Cousins is a little bit different.
RG3 heading to the bench could be for these two reasons – (1) So he doesn’t get hurt. (2) Let Cousins audition for other teams. It’s a pretty safe bet that there are several teams around the NFL who would trade for the Washington backup right now. But if he comes out and plays well over the final three games, that would really drive up his stock. The Redskins have maintained that they don’t intend on trading Cousins, but let’s face it – they don’t have a first round pick in 2014 and they have very little cap space to make moves in free agency this offseason.
Could the Redskins get a first-rounder for Cousins? It’s doubtful, but certainly possible. At minimum, they’d get a second round pick if he plays really well. If they don’t trade him now, he’s just going to walk away in two years anyway. Why not cash in while his stock his high?
The other side of the argument is that the Redskins need a quality backup because of RG3’s injury troubles – but they could easily go out and find another serviceable backup in free agency or late in the draft next year.
Barring terrible play from Cousins in the final three games, this is a plan that could work for the Redskins. In my opinion, the franchise would be absolutely crazy to hold on to him for another two years if they plan on sticking with RG3 moving forward. This team needs young talent to build around and Cousins is the easiest way for them to get another high draft pick in 2014.