Any conversation about the Washington Redskins right now likely centers around quarterback Kirk Cousins, who, after failing to agree to a long term contract extension for the second consecutive summer, will play under the franchise tag again in 2017 – the first time in NFL history a quarterback has done so in back to back years. In a league where it is so difficult to develop franchise QBs, it’s quite shocking the Redskins have not made enough of an effort to lock Cousins up long term. With former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan now the leading man in San Francisco, don’t be surprised if Cousins finds himself heading west as an unrestricted free-agent next spring. In the present, what to expect from Washington is unclear. They’ve lost two dynamic playmaking receivers since last season, but they’ve also got a very motivated man under center.
2016 Record: 8-7-1
Notable Additions: WR Terrelle Pryor, DT Terrell McClain, S D.J. Swearinger, DL Stacy McGee, LB Zach Brown
Notable Subtractions: WR Pierre Garcon, WR DeSean Jackson, DT Chris Baker
Notable Rookies: DE Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, CB Fabian Moreau, RB Samaje Perine
Only two quarterbacks (Drew Brees and Matt Ryan) threw for more yards than Washington’s Kirk Cousins last season, and after two straight dominant campaigns it’s downright shocking the team hasn’t bent over backwards to secure their leader to a long-term contract. Cousins has nothing left to prove to the organization, and he’s become one of the best players at his position in the entire sport. By failing to recognize that, owner Dan Snyder and company may find themselves attempting to start from scratch at the most important position in sports next spring. Cousins’ determination cannot be questioned, but expecting him to lead this team to the playoffs in 2017 may be asking too much. Washington watched two 1,000 yard receivers walk out the door while replacing the production only with talented but raw receiver Terrelle Pryor, and arguably their most productive pass catcher, tight end Jordan Reed, has been limited all preseason by a toe injury. Rob Kelley played well in spurts last season but has never been a number one back in this league so it will be interesting to see how consistent the ‘Skins running game can be. On defense, Josh Norman will have to prove his legs can move just as fast as his mouth, as he’ll be asked to cover receivers like Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr., and Alshon Jeffery in the difficult NFC East.