Here’s a heck of a hypothetical: If the Redskins don’t re-sign Kirk Cousins after the 2017 season, who should they go after?
Cap expert Joel Corry of CBS Sports proposed quite the answer to that question in an interview with Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan Wednesday.
“I might kick the tires on A.J. McCarron, who may or may not be an unrestricted free agent,” Corry said. “There’s a grievance that he’s filed so he can get a year of service for his rookie year, when he was on the non-football injury list. If not, he’s restricted. If he is unrestricted, he’d be much cheaper.”
McCarron is 2-1 as a starter, guiding the Bengals through their final three games of the 2015 season as a rookie. He nearly led them to a playoff win over the Steelers, if not for Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones committing the worst-timed penalties in the history of football.
McCarron completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 854 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions for a 97.1 passer rating that season.
“There’s a connection there,” said Corry. “The offense is very similar. When he played in 2015, he was serviceable. He got the Bengals to the playoffs. Should have won a playoff game, but his idiot defensive players had some ill-timed penalties and cost them the game.”
The Redskins, bear in mind, have Colt McCoy under contract through 2018, and many think he’d be the perfect bridge quarterback to hold the Redskins over for a year until they find their guy.
They could also re-sign Cousins — even overpay him, as Charley Casserly believes they will — or transition tag him and see what he’s worth to other teams. Or they could franchise tag him for a third straight year at a cost of approx. $34.5 million.
Whatever happens, Washington (4-6) very likely won’t be in the position to draft Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Josh Allen (Wyoming, the consensus top three quarterback in next year’s draft class.
“So that might be a guy to take a look at,” Corry said. “The Browns were willing to give up a second- and third-round pick for him, if they could have figured out how to procedurally finish a trade, so that might be a guy to take a look at, because he’s younger and cheap.”
The question isn’t whether you’d prefer McCarron over Cousins, or which quarterback projects to a higher ceiling? No. Here’s the question: Would you simply be OK with the Redskins letting Cousins walk if they were to replace him with McCarron?