Chain Reactions: Time to Cool it with Cousins Trade Talk

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

In what may be the end of the world edition of "Chain Reactions," it's time to slow down the Kirk Cousins trade talk. Plus, signs point to an RGIII return in a nick of time.

The world could end tomorrow. At least, that is what the Mayan calendar tells us about 12-21-12. I have to admit, I have never owned a Mayan Calendar. I did have several sports calendars over the years. Then, in college, the calendars went from sports to swimsuit models. Anyway, the point is that I have no clue if we should really be worried about the world ending or not.

There are several reasons why I hope the Mayans are wrong, but from the sports side of it, the apocalypse would really suck. I mean, there are actually things to look forward to these days in the DMV with our pro sports franchises. The Redskins have a big time quarterback and are two wins away from a division title. The Nationals are the defending NL East Champs and should be a World Series contender once again next year. The Caps have a strong roster, just not a season (and it ain't looking good either), and the Wizards are, well, the Wizards. If this prediction proves to be wrong, than I hope holiday shoppers are smart enough not to buy these Mayan Calendars anymore.

In this week’s ‘Chain Reactions’ we assess Kirk Cousins' value, and ask if RGIII is ready for Week 16.

Kirk Cousins' Value to the Redskins

Seconds after the Redskins drafted Kirk Cousins in the 4th round of this year’s NFL draft, many fans started dreaming about a day when the quarterback’s value would be high enough for the team to trade him. Well that day apparently is here. Shortly after Cousins' 329-yard, 2-TD performance in the team's lopsided 38-21 win over the Browns, a value was put on him. Former Redskins GM Charley Casserly proclaimed on Redskins Postgame Live that he thinks Cousins is worth a 2nd rounder, and perhaps you could get another pick, too. The Redskins are short some picks after giving up some serious freight swapping this past year’s first and second-rounders, along with their next two number 1s (in 2013 and ’14) to the Rams for RGIII.

So to recoup some draft selections makes perfect sense. However, before we send Cousins out of town ,there are some things that should be considered. It is important to have a good backup quarterback. Not having one can cripple a team (see last year’s Chicago Bears). The Houston Texans, on the other hand, had depth at the position and third-stringer T.J. Yates led them into the postseason and actually won a game.

RGIII plays a dangerous style, as we have seen. He has been knocked out of two games and missed one altogether. Hopefully, he will play smarter and safer as his career moves forward. That is not a given, though, and a good backup will always will be needed.

For those that think it is easy to find a good backup, consider: it took Mike Shanhanan three years to finally get his starting quarterback situation settled here in D.C. Does he really want to start over again next year? Even if he gets two picks he likely will have to burn one pick on a young quarterback to play behind RGIII. The recent mistakes made by franchises like Arizona with Kevin Kolb and Seattle with Matt Flynn (who Seattle at least signed in free agency and didn't give up picks for) may make some teams wary of dealing for players with small sample sizes. There will be teams, though, that will overlook those stories of caution because this year’s quarterback draft class is weak. The 'Skins are not enamored with Rex as the No. 2, since he’d been the 3 all year until this past week. The franchise is also set to be shorthanded financially in free agency once again thanks to the NFL's cap penalty, so a veteran backup seems out of the question given all their other needs.

This is not to say the Redskins will not answer the phone if it rings. The Redskins, like all teams in the NFL, will listen to any and all offers. The question is: will the right offer be made for the Skins to part ways with Kirk Cousins after just one season?

RGIII Ready for Week 16

On Wednesday Robert Griffin III took all first-team snaps and once again made it clear his mindset is to play this Sunday.

"I was able to go through a full practice, so that was good. I feel good. It was exciting to get back out there and practice with everybody – get ready for the game."

He wanted to play the previous week and was not happy he didn’t get to.

"It is frustrating. Like I said, players play. I told them in the locker room when they told me [I wouldn’t play] that night I would be upset, but once we step on the field, I was all for this team and all for Kirk [Cousins]. That’s the way you have to approach it. You don’t take those things to the field and try to become a cancer or a distraction to the team. You support the team."

You've got to love the rookie’s competitiveness. RGIII wants to be there for his team. He knows how much these games mean down the stretch. Will he play this week? It would be surprising if he didn’t. Anyone who saw the FOX pregame video of RGIII working out in Cleveland knows he made a ton of improvement in the first week of rehab. So it would be reasonable to expect him to go this week. Also, taking all first team reps, as Cousins had the previous week, is a good sign, too.

Does that mean Mike Shanahan will have a big reveal at some point this week? Probably not. He will try his best to keep this under wraps until Saturday or perhaps Sunday. The Redskins cannot afford a letdown in Philly. Sure, the Eagles are TERRIBLE right now and Andy Reid is likely headed out. However, they are still capable of beating the Redskins. Running back LeSean McCoy is coming back this week and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is still a game-breaker, while Jason Avant moves the chains. The Redskins cannot afford to take them lightly; they need some momentum heading into the likely winner-take-all finale against the Cowboys. They need their star under center, and barring a setback, he should be ready to go.

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