Why make the deal: I’ve written about trading Cousins before at length so I won’t go into all the details. The fact of the matter is the Redskins have an excess of supply at the most important position in the NFL. Yes Cousins hasn’t played that much, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have value to opposing teams. His potential, age,and price tag can all be very interesting to some teams out there this offseason. With Marcus Mariota heading back to school and Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray recovering from serious knee injuries, the once deep quarterback class for 2014 isn’t as strong. More teams are going to need to go the trade/free agent route to land their signal caller, which makes the market for Cousins that much stronger. Cousins also can offer immediate impact to some teams, but still be a guy who can be the long term option for a team. That makes him more attractive than some rookies and most free agent options.
While it is nice that the Redskins have an insurance policy, Robert Griffin III is their quarterback of the future so having the best back-up QB in the league means very little, particularly when the Redskins have so many needs. Cousins can help the Redskins land some additional quality draft picks and that is what the Redskins need to do.
What can they expect: A lot will depend on how the QB market stacks up after underclassmen declare and if there are any additional injuries out there that force other teams to need a new signal caller. I believe a fair estimate will be a 2nd and a 4th round pick (though possibly the 4th rounder being a 2015 selection).
Why make the deal: Roy Helu Jr. is a nice player for the Redskins, but he’s never going to be the starter in Washington and frankly he should even be playing less as Morris needs more touches and snaps. Helu is a quality back-up and 3rd down back for the Redskins, but he’s entering his final year of his rookie contract and probably isn’t going to be back in 2015. The Redskins can trade him now and get a pick or two that will hopefully help them contend from 2015-2018, as opposed to letting him walk for nothing. The market for a back like Helu may be better than expected. Quite a few teams could use a boost to their rushing attack, and while it doesn’t look to be a horrible draft class in that area, it’s not also particularly strong either. A cheap semi-proven option like Helu could be attractive to a few teams.
What can they expect: Last year the Saints traded Chris Ivory to the Jets for a 4th round pick in a similar situation. Helu has fewer injuries and has proven himself to be a better pass catcher out of the back-field. I think the Redskins could land a 4th rounder for Helu and possibly a 6th or 7th rounder as well.
Why make the deal: The Redskins need to make up for not having a first rounder, and though moving back won’t fix that entirely it can help get some more picks to the Redskins. Not only can this help bring depth to the team, but if there is a coaching change extra draft picks can help facilitate a quicker rebuild. Now the Redskins could do any number of things here. They could try to trade back only a handful of spots and get one or two lower round picks (maybe 4th and 7th), or they could move back 10+ spots and maybe land another team’s 3rd rounder. Some people may be hesitant to move back from a likely top 5-10 pick in the second round, but it’s really not the end of the world. With the Redskins having so many needs they can move back some and still find a quality player at a position of need.
What can they expect: This all depends on where the Redskins pick is, and how far they are willing to trade back. Last year from the 34th overall pick the 49ers traded to the 40th overall pick and picked up a 7th rounder last year and a 3rd rounder for this upcoming draft. The Cardinals traded back from 38th overall to 45th overall and landed a 4th round pick for their trouble. The Redskins could at least land a 4th round pick out of the deal and possibly as high as a 3rd rounder.
I realize these might not be the most popular moves for Redskins fans, but they all make sense to help this team build through the draft and get this team the foundation they need going forward. Cousins and Helu are nice players, but they aren’t a part of that foundation for the Redskins, so Washington should capitalize and get pieces who are. None of these moves are going to guarantee a turnaround for this team, but they all put the Redskins in a better spot going forward. While the Redskins need quality talent, they need quantity as well. Having a strong draft with a number of extra mid-round picks could help that cause. A draft like this, with a strong and smart free agency period could get the Redskins in a position to contend by 2015.