At this point, it appears likely Kirk Cousins will be traded this offseason. Although he registered almost 5,000 yards passing and threw 25 touchdowns, the Washington Redskins seem unwilling to lock Cousins up to a long-term extension which would pay him around $25 million per year. It’s fairly seldom we witness a franchise quarterback get traded, but if Cousins does get put on the trade block, expect the Texans to be interested in his services. In order to land Cousins in a blockbuster deal, Houston should send Washington two first-round picks, a second-round selection, and their current starting quarterback, Brock Osweiler.
Why This Move Makes Sense For Houston:
In Cousins’ second full season under center, he elevated his game to another level. He finished third in the league in passing yards (4,917) and 13th in passing touchdowns (25). Although he also threw 12 interceptions, which isn’t an impressive statistic by any means, it’s not a bad number considering how many pass attempts he had. Cousins finished sixth in the NFL in passing attempts, which inflated his passing yardage total, but Cousins is still obviously an above average quarterback who has the tools necessary to immediately make a good team like Houston a Super Bowl contender. Keeping his performance last season in mind, it’s clear Cousins deserves to be given a long-term extension. If the Redskins won’t give it to him, the Texans will have no problem doing so.
In reality, Houston is merely a franchise quarterback away from being an AFC powerhouse. Boasting an elite defense, a variety of weapons on offense, and a rock-solid offensive line, a signal caller like Cousins would make the Texans a team who could make noise in 2017. Even with abysmal quarterback play in 2016, Houston still won the AFC South and gave the eventual Super Bowl LI champion, the New England Patriots, headaches for the majority of the game in the Divisional round of the playoffs last season. The price for Cousins would be colossal, but Houston has officially found their ceiling sans a franchise quarterback. The Texans will only be an above average team next season if they don’t make improvements at the league’s most important position. But if they can successfully pull off this proposed trade, they will bring in a proven quarterback while ridding themselves of their big mistake they made last offseason.
There are some concerns from Houston’s end of the spectrum that Cousins could bolt next offseason and be one-and-done with the Texans, but this is highly unlikely to actually happen. Even if Cousins doesn’t want to sign a long-term extension right out the gate, the Texans could slap him with a transition tag for 2018. This would cost the Texans a total of $28.78 million in 2018, but would be a last resort option for Houston, as a franchise tag would cost $34.47 million. The transition tag would give Cousins the option to sign with any team, but the Texans would have the opportunity to match the offer and retain him. With all that being said, Cousins is asking for $25 million per year, and Houston’s management would gladly give that to him, especially if they committed two first-round picks and a second-round pick to land him in the first place.
Why This Move Makes Sense For Washington:
If the Redskins decide to cut ties with Cousins this offseason, than a trade to Houston makes more sense than the other trade rumors that have swarmed around him lately. At a first glance, trading Cousins for Osweiler seems like an awful decision for Washington, as the Redskins would inherit a massive contract of a player who hurts his team’s chances of winning when he is on the field. But the key factor in this trade is Osweiler doesn’t have a whole lot of guaranteed money left on his contract after the 2017 season, meaning the Redskins would only be acquiring Osweiler’s contract in order for Houston to sign Cousins to a long-term deal. Washington could then part ways with Osweiler after one season and take a $6 million cap hit in 2018 and a $3 million cap hit in 2019. Taking into consideration the Redskins don’t have an expensive quarterback on their team, this is a meager price to pay for three quality draft picks.
Starting Osweiler at quarterback next season could actually do the Redskins big favors in the long haul. If Washington gets rid of Cousins, their best bet would be to tank the 2017 season and get a high draft pick in the 2018 draft. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and USC quarterback Sam Darnold are almost surefire bets to be available at the top of next year’s draft, and these quarterbacks are considered to be the best prospects at the position since Andrew Luck. Considering there is a strong possibility the Redskins will lose wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson in free agency and they a have mediocre-at-best defense, Osweiler could easily lead the Redskins to a top pick in the next draft. One miserable season would be a decent price to pay for a new franchise quarterback and some key assets to help rebuild a struggling defense.
This trade would not only benefit the Texans, it would also leave the Redskins better off as well. Washington appears to be intent on dealing Cousins, so the franchise would be able to rebuild their suspect defense and potentially pick up a franchise quarterback in next year’s draft assuming Osweiler doesn’t benefit from a change of scenery. On the flip side of the coin, Houston would acquire a competent signal caller they’ve been desperately looking seeking for many years. Adding Cousins to their roster could give a very good Texans team a legitimate shot at claiming their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.