WASHINGTON — Some day in the near future, we will look back on these weeks of speculation over Kirk Cousins’ future with the Washington Redskins and laugh.
Right now, however, there are only a handful of people on either side of this negotiation that knows how it’s going to play out. The rest of us are just guessing, with some guesses being more educated than other.
Take Michael Phillips, for example, the Redskins’ beat reporter and sports editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Rather than answering a question from Grant and Danny on 106.7 The Fan about what happens to Kirk Cousins, he had to wager on who would start for the Redskins in Week 1 next season.
His answer may not surprise you, but his reasoning is what makes it a worthwhile take.
“Colt McCoy, I would say would be the safest possible guess if you had to name a starting quarterback,” Phillips said. “You’re probably not grabbing a rookie in the draft who is a Day 1 starter.
“I think even if you grab one of these free agents–maybe if Alex Smith frees up, grabbing an Alex Smith or whatever–I would definitely see Jay saying, ‘I like Colt, let’s see what Colt does while we get this new guy in the system.'”
That second part is bold in today’s NFL. Generally speaking, teams follow the money at quarterback, giving the guy with the greatest financial investment every opportunity to earn his keep. If the team brought in a veteran on a high-end contract and didn’t start him, there would be some serious discussion on whether the team made the right move.
But Phillips thinks that Gruden’s conviction in McCoy would be the real deciding factor.
“I think a lot of people scoff when I say that. Jay really does like Colt. Jay believes in Colt,” he explained. “It won’t surprise me at all if Jay trots Colt out and says, ‘We’re gonna have a good football team this year.'”
Without missing a beat, Grant Paulsen responded: “It won’t surprise me at all if Jay pays the price if Colts is his starter next year, either, because that’s not going to end well and he’s not going stay healthy.”
And that is the biggest knock on McCoy. After having one of the most accomplished collegiate careers ever, McCoy played behind bad offensive lines in Cleveland and San Francisco before ending up in Washington. He once suffered a hellacious looking concussion in a game against the Steelers that helped to define the NFL’s concussion protocol, and he has never survived the NFL’s 16-game slate.
Even if Gruden believes in McCoy, there is no real track record of success. Which brings us back to the quarterback who has started each game for the last three years.
“To me, there’s maybe a 25-30 percent chance that Kirk Cousins comes back. I really don’t think it’s zero–I think there’s a lot of scenarios where does come back,” Phillips reasoned. “And obviously, if he’s in the building, he’s the starter.”