Free-Agent setup: Redskins grab Smith, so what about Cousins?

By The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 24, 2018 at 10:04 PM
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The Redskins have only a handful of enticing free agents. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is almost certainly gone after the trade for Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith and his pending contract extension.

Washington could use the franchise tag on Cousins at $34.4 million and hope for a sign-and-trade. But he has leverage, too. If Cousins signs the tag, he could torpedo the Redskins' salary-cap space heading into free agency. That would be a huge risk for the organization.

Otherwise, Washington has no obvious franchise-tag candidate. It's unlikely veteran wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is back after a disappointing season. Left guard Shawn Lauvao is a solid veteran, but the sense is the Redskins can upgrade there at a cheaper price. Center Spencer Long is a free agent, too, and began his career as a guard. He could always slide over to Lauvao's position.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland has been a starter since his rookie year and while he can be temperamental, he also plays hard and competes. After already losing nickel cornerback Kendall Fuller in the Smith trade, signing Breeland might be more of a priority for Washington. It needs a veteran opposite Josh Norman.

The Redskins appear content to wait on inside linebacker Zach Brown. He filled a speed need for them on a cheap, one-year contract last season at $2.3 million. Brown wants a bigger deal this time after leading the NFL in tackles for much of 2017 until injuries struck, but unless his demands drop that won't come from Washington.

Unit-by-unit depth chart as of Super Bowl LII. Injured players listed as starters if that was their status when injured.

*Asterisk indicates player ended 2017 season on injured reserve.

QUARTERBACKS (B): Starter - Kirk Cousins (UFA). Backup - Colt McCoy. Addition: QB Alex Smith (to be acquired from Chiefs).

RUNNING BACKS (C-minus): Starter - *Rob Kelley. Backups - Samaje Perine, *Chris Thompson, *Byron Marshall, *Keith Marshall, *LeShun Daniels, Kapri Bibbs, Dare Ogunbowale.

TIGHT ENDS (B-minus): Starter - *Jordan Reed. Backups - Vernon Davis, Niles Paul (UFA), Jeremy Sprinkle, Manasseh Garner.

WIDE RECEIVERS (C): Starters - *Terrelle Pryor (UFA), Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder. Backups - Ryan Grant (UFA), Brian Quick (UFA), Maurice Harris, Robert Davis.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (B-minus): Starters - LT *Trent Williams, LG *Shawn Lauvao (UFA), C *Spencer Long (UFA), RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses. Backups - C Chase Roullier, LT Ty Nsekhe, LG Arie Kouandjio, G Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, C Tony Bergstrom, C Demetrius Rhaney, T *Kevin Bowen, T T.J. *Clemmings. Addition: G Orlando Franklin (signed as afree agent).

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (C-minus): Starters - LDE Matt Ioannidis, NT Stacy McGee (UFA), RDE *Jonathan Allen. Backups - DE *Phil Taylor Sr. (UFA), NT Ziggy Hood, DE Terrell McClain, DE Anthony Lanier, DE A.J. Francis, T *Arthur Jones

LINEBACKERS (C): Starters - WLB Ryan Kerrigan, ILB Zach Brown (UFA), ILB *Mason Foster, SLB Preston Smith. Backups - ILB *Will Compton (UFA), ILB Martrell Spaight, OLB *Trent Murphy (UFA), OLB Ryan Anderson, ILB Zach Vigil, SLB Junior Galette (UFA), ILB Josh Harvey-Clemons, ILB Otha Peters, OLB Pete Robertson, OLB *Chris Carter (UFA)

DEFENSIVE BACKS (C-plus): Starters - LCB Josh Norman, RCB Bashaud Breeland (UFA), FS D.J. Swearinger, SS *Su'a Cravens. Backups - RCB Quinton Dunbar, LCB Fabian Moreau, SS Deshazor Everett, SS *Montae Nicholson, FS DeAngelo Hall (UFA), Slot CB Kendall Fuller (to be traded to Chiefs), FS Fish Smithson, RCB Josh Holsey.

SPECIAL TEAMS (C): K Dustin Hopkins (UFA), KOR *Chris Thompson, PR Jamison Crowder, LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way.

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