The Rams have lost quarterback Sam Bradford for the season with a torn ACL. Although the Rams have Shaun Hill as their backup and head coach Jeff Fisher has said that Hill is their man, there are still plenty of reasons to think that St. Louis might still be in the market for a quarterback.
Could that QB be Kirk Cousins of the Redskins?
Hill is 34 years old. He has played in just five NFL games since 2010, starting none and attempting all of 12 passes. Perhaps he can play 16 games for the first time this year, perhaps not. But in any case, he’s not the quarterback of the future. It seems increasing unlikely that Bradford, who just tore the same ACL he tore last year, will be the long-term answer at the most important position in the sport either. The Rams owe him $13 million if he plays next year and they are not going to pay that much for an injury prone QB who was not a great player even when healthy.
Cousins could be attractive to the Rams for a number of reasons. He is 26, has flashed some ability since the Redskins drafted him in 2012, and is under contract at minimum salaries through 2016. Despite the preseason struggles of Robert Griffin III, he probably does not have a long-term future in Washington. The Rams could bring him in, get him up to speed on the offense, start him when he’s ready (they have a Week 4 bye, perfect for making the transition) and then give him a year-plus trial as their QB.
Add in the fact that the Redskins and Rams have done quarterback trade business before when Washington shipped a treasure trove of draft picks to St. Louis for the rights to draft Griffin and you have plenty of speculation that a deal could get done. Talk swirled around on Twitter starting Saturday night when it was known that Bradford was injured but the severity was not yet known. After the news that he had torn his ACL became official, Chris Mortensen of ESPN spent some time discussing the possibility on SportsCenter, citing many of the reasons outlined above.
But all of this has the appearance of adding two and two and coming up with eight (that’s Cousins’ jersey number). The Rams certainly were aware that Bradford was an injury risk and they were content to risk going into the season with Hill, Austin Davis, and sixth-round pick Gilbert Garret as their quarterbacks. It seems unlikely that they will shift their plans and pay the price to get Cousins in the fold.
What would that price be? According to reports the Redskins turned down a third-round pick for Cousins around the time of the draft. That means they wanted at least a second and it’s certain that the price has not gone down.
Although it’s unlikely that Griffin would be benched in favor of Cousins, they may want to hang on to him. Griffin has a twice-repaired right knee and as he demonstrated against the Browns last Monday night he has a style of play that makes him more of an injury risk than your average quarterback. It would take a lot to pry away Washington’s insurance policy.
You also have to add supply and demand into the equation. A number of young QB’s like Ryan Mallett, Matt Barkley, and others could be available for the Rams should the choose to go that route. This makes the Rams meeting the Redskins’ asking price even more unlikely.
The reality here is that there's really not much actual smoke here and, as of now, no fire at all. But one thing is certain—the facts won’t get in the way of a good round of rumors.