A move the Washington Redskins make could impact the 49ers’ entire draft plan.
MMQB.com’s Albert Breer is reporting the Redskins have offered Cousins a five-year contract extension until 2022.
Obviously, Cousins doesn’t have to sign it. The Redskins already offered him a $23.94 million franchise tag contract for the 2017 season. The last two seasons, Cousins has played extremely well betting on himself. Why not do a third?
Well, a couple of reasons here.
Acting GM Bruce Allen understands the Redskins can’t fire Scot McCloughan and lose Cousins to free agency in back-to-back seasons. The fan outrage will force Dan Snyder to fire him. Offering Cousins more money could soften the hard stance both parties have taken. Allen isn’t worried about whether Cousins will win the Redskins a Super Bowl; he’s worried about keeping his job. Extending Cousins will change the mood in D.C. and buy him time. Cousins has indicated in interviews if the Redskins give him the money he wants, he’d be open to staying in Washington.
Clues to Shanahan and Lynch’s plan at quarterback are surfacing as the offseason moves along. Brian Hoyer will be the bridge quarterback for a year — and will win more games than you expect. In 2018 the 49ers will go back to the drawing board trying to permanently solve the most important position on the field and Cousins is at the top of that list. San Francisco has the money and the strong relationship with the 28-year-old and would be widely considered the front runners. Here’s what Cousins told Gary and Larry at the Super Bowl if he were to hit free agency.
“If they don’t tag me, that also sends a strong message,” Cousins said. “And at that point, I would certainly feel like maybe I’ve got to look elsewhere.”
Should Cousins put ink on a contract in Washington before the NFL Draft on April 27th, Shanahan and Lynch would be thrown into their first two-minute drill together. All of a sudden, selecting a quarterback at No. 2 — or more wisely, moving down in the middle of the draft — would seem like a plausible scenario. You’ll hear NFL teams say they always stay true to the draft board, but the Cousins scenario is different. Him being off the table would significantly impact long term plans.
There haven’t been any reports of which quarterback Shanahan and Lynch like the most, but the GM is currently touring the country getting to know Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes. After a free agency frenzy, Shanahan is finally getting caught back up on the tape of these four. Davis Webb and other sleepers would also remain options to groom behind Hoyer.
Shanahan told reporters he has not started watching film on the 2018 college quarterback prospects because so much can change. If the Redskins somehow shock the world and lock up Cousins, it will force the first-year head coach to reexamine his draft plans and commit to the passer he likes the most.