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Redskins salary cap outlook: Quarterback

Jan 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT


Salary cap review: Quarterbacks

As Jay Gruden and company finalize the coaching staff in another part of the building at Redskins Park are looking forward to free agency and how best to utilize the approximately $20 million in cap space the Redskins have. Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options. Previously we looked at the interior offensive line and offensive tackle, tight ends, running backs, and wide receivers.

Up today, quarterbacks

The Redskins currently have two quarterbacks under contract.



—Griffin is on the fourth year of his rookie contract. His base salary is fully guaranteed.

—Cousins is also on the fourth year of his rookie contract but as a fourth-round pick his salary is not guaranteed.

—Both players are in the final years of their contracts. Cousins will become a free agent after the season. Griffin also will be a free agent in 2016 unless the team activates a one-year option in his contract worth that would be worth about $16 million. They have until early May to decide on that option.

[RELATED: Redskins 2015 position outlooks: Quarterback]

—Colt McCoy, who started four games last year, is an unrestricted free agent.

—The Redskins’ spending at quarterback ranks 21st in the NFL.

Adding and subtracting

As noted above, the Redskins currently have no quarterbacks under contract beyond 2015. It seems unlikely that the Redskins will pull the trigger on that $16 million option on Griffin by the deadline in May.

That situation could be viewed as a positive because it gives the team plenty of flexibility at the position. But the downside is that the Redskins have no stability at the most important position on the field.

Should they bring back Colt McCoy and possibly enter 2015 with the same trio of quarterbacks that ranked 11th in passing yards and 15th in passer rating in the NFL? Or should they look for an upgrade on the free agent market or in the draft? That’s the question that Tarik El-Bashir and I will discuss on a bit later this afternoon.

Cap information from and other sources.

  1. fwhalstead1 - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    Of all the QB’s on this roster Cousins is the only 1 who has shown he can run Gruden’s offense and STAY healthy. Robert has ZERO clue of pre or post snap reads, ZERO concept of reading coverage, and ZERO CONFIDENCE in THIS offense. Colt is a journeyman who actually beat both of these guys out for the starting job and had he not gotten hurt Robert would have finished 2a on the depth chart with Cousins being 2b at the end of the season. That being said I don’t think the Skins should do anything at the position in 2015. Let’s see what comes out of camp and if some team is sucker enough to take Robert and his salary off of our hands for a few mid round picks then trade him. He’s useless in anything other than a zone/read/spread offense where his running ability (which no longer exist) can make up for his serious lack of pocket QB skills. I fully expect to be labeled an idiot and a hater by the RG3 fans here but that is ok. I am a 45 year REDSKINS fan 1st and foremost who has seen this team rise and fall over the years. Objectivity is my strong suit and the film does not lie! I have had access to the All22 (coach’s) film on all of the QB’s for all of their games. Robert’s play is the worst of the 3 and he actually looks like he’s never played QB before in THIS offense. My take? I suspect Kirk will emerge as the starting QB out of camp (as he should have been last year) because of his youth, his background in this style of QB play, and his low key, head down approach to playing football. Now if he could just coral those damn turn overs. LOL #HTTR

    • jwill1013 - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:39 PM

      No rate the OL… I don’t care who’s back there, the offense is based on steps syncing with throws right? If you can’t confidently hit your back foot, you can’t deliver the football. Don’t lose hope 45 yr Redskins Fan… #HTTR

      • Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:04 PM

        Right. How about the number of times Bob set his feet, had a clean pocket, had multiple open receivers and came away with a sack, a scramble and incompletion, or a turnover?

        The OL was bad, but it was MUCH worse when Bob was standing back there completely not understanding his surroundings.

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 2:08 PM

      Which obviously begs the question why Gruden doesn’t put the right offense in place to take advantage of Robert’s talents. You don’t see Carroll ask Russell Wilson to drop back in the pocket 40 times a game; you don’t see Belichek ask Tom Brady to play like a throwing/running QB hybrid. (We’ll leave aside the fact that Gruden has rarely been part of an above-average passing offense during his decade-or-so years of experience in the NFL; Gruden has to show that the offenses under his watch can achieve the heights of success that enjoy teams enjoy.)

      But, with regards to Cousins, his play was maddeningly inconsistent. It doesn’t help that he (like Griffin) didn’t play in alot of games, but in his starts vs. the Eagles and Seahawks, his ANY/A was 7.7 (over 85 dropbacks). In all of his his other starts (over 92 dropbacks), his ANY/A was 4.4. This is a QB who (unlike Griffin) played in a pro-style offense in college. If you think he’s the starter for this team, he hasn’t played well enough to secure the spot.

      • Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:05 PM

        He doesn’t have any. The only thing Bob could do was based off of being able to outrun everyone and forcing the opposition to spy on him. He can’t even outrun defensive linemen anymore.

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:46 PM

          Yes, he does have skills. He’s mobile in the pocket, can still run well enough to be used in designed QB plays and the read-option run, and is effective in play-action.

          And unlike with your posts here, the things *I* post can be backed up with evidence. Here’s one link : Robert was 13th in QB rush yards on the list despite playing in only nine games; he was also sixth in rush yards per game. And here’s another link about his play-action ability: His NFL QB rating went up 10 points on throws that used play-action.

          Care to make more outlandish claims without evidence, Joe?

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 28, 2015 at 1:25 AM

          redskinsinrichmondva well said

    • bangkokben - Jan 27, 2015 at 2:38 PM


      I don’t disagree with your assessment on Griffin. But, how is it that Griffin can’t improve and Cousins can? The biggest problem I have with Cousins – and I suspect the coach as well – is his performance against Tennessee. That performance was equivalent to Griffin’s worst outings in it’s production. It was that of a QB who lost total confidence in his game. Everyone talks about how Griffin regressed but looking at Cousins he regressed equally. From his performance against Jacksonville and Philadelphia to his last against Arizona and then the Titans; regression. Yet somehow we can teach Cousins to not throw picks or fumble the ball on the occasion he gets sacks but can’t teach Griffin to keep is eyes up in the pocket and be decisive on his throws – not wait ’til his receivers are open. Griffin is younger, been in this kind of system in fewer reps, and has bigger upside but let’s stick with white guy.

      • gasngo14 - Jan 27, 2015 at 3:15 PM

        bangkokben……. really? white guy ?? WOW!

        • bangkokben - Jan 27, 2015 at 3:24 PM

          My point is those that see all of Griffin’s mistakes always come to the same race historic reasons of getting rid of a QB with color – can’t read defenses. Cousins although he had one or two better games was still winless as a starter and regressed but so many of our fans seem to think his mistakes are correctable. Why? I suspect race. I’m probably wrong on 50% of Cousins supporters. Who knows? What we do know is that even in his best moments Cousins hasn’t even come close to Griffin’s best.

      • Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:05 PM

        Fewer reps? He’s been handed almost all the first team reps the last two years while trying to learn to be a pocket passer and has regressed wildly.

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:47 PM

          Please stop confusing practice reps with the real, game-time experience in the kind of offense that Gruden is playing.

          Kirk played in that kind of offense in college. Robert did not.

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:21 PM

          Reading defenses should reflect in superior QB production, and Cousins has lacked that in more starts than not.

    • mr.moneylover19 - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:09 PM

      Kirk cousins also shown he throws alot of INTS…both rg3 and kirk cousins gotta learn how to read defense if they wanna have any kind of success and become elit…rg3 gets a pass this year only because it was his first time dropping back in the pocket and came off of a 6 week injury…nothing held kirk cousins back and he still fail as well ..what they need is a QB coach thats gonna help them learn on field and in the film room

      • Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:06 PM

        Cousins reads the defense properly most of the time, he just makes bad throws off of the right reads. That’s a lot easier to correct than not having any idea what the read is.

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:15 PM

          Cousins has not read defenses well thorughout his career. As a starter, he did so in two games in 2014 and once in 2012. That’s it. It’s part of the reason why his career INT% is horrid.

      • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:22 PM

        Reading defenses should reflect in superior QB production, and Cousins has lacked that in more starts than not.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 28, 2015 at 1:23 AM

      Lol our 3rd string QB who averages 2 turnovers a game is gonna start lmao. While “watching this film” did you notice how long the oline held their blocks? You should have noticed that they couldnt block for more than 2 seconds

  2. goback2rfk - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    Robert will be alright. I bet he figures it out this year, he is going to be trying to get that extension. I am thinking somewhere in the realm of 33 Million for 3 Years with 12 mil guaranteed. Give him a few years to see if he will work it out. He had his moments of brilliance last year, he will come out slanging the rock in training camp.

  3. brucefan1 - Jan 27, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    I still speculate that there is an excellent chance that neither Cousins or Griffin will be on the Redskin roster after this season, either by the Skins choice or their own.

    Its widely expected that the Skins won’t pick up Griffin’s option in May. If he goes on to be the backup under Gruden in 2015, he will probably walk away at season’s end and try again elsewhere. (That’s assuming that he isn’t released before that.) Conversely, if he does regain some of his success of 2012, I continue to contend that he will go the free agent route anyway. Why would Griifin stick around under a coach who’s publicly humiliated him, in a city where he’s been so repeatedly maligned? Would you, if you had options?

    A somewhat similar scenario might play out for Cousins. If he’s relegated to the bench next season, he explores his options elsewhere in 2016, imho. (Unless he proves to everyone that he’s just a career backup QB, and has NO OTHER viable options. But I doubt that). But if he does start – and thrives to any degree, he too will probably see what he can get on the open market — especially due to the fact that he ended this season as the third-stringer. That could not have sat real well with him. I speculate Kirk won’t feel any strong dedication to staying with the Redskins if he has other opportunities.

    (Just to cover another unlikely base, if either of these two guys have a GREAT season, there’s always a chance that the Skins will slap the franchise tag on him. But even I wont predict that at this point in time! LOL!)

    Soooo…is there a chance the Redskins might be back to square one as far as QB’s in 2016? To paraphrase the immortal words of ex-pitcher Joaquín Andújar, you can sum it up in one word, “youneverknow”!

    • bangkokben - Jan 27, 2015 at 2:47 PM

      The big question is what other veteran quarterbacks will be free agents in 2016. Gruden’s offense was 11th in passing yards with it’s three headed monster last year? At this point, Garcon and D Jax would still be on the team with perhaps an improved Jordan Reed.

      As for the RG3 option, there is no way he gets that. Suppose he completely hits the “books” and is able to apply everything he learns and grows in leaps and bounds, even then it is too late. He cannot even be back in the building until mid-April and then only for workouts. Another two weeks until he can even talk x’s and o’s with Gruden.

      • brucefan1 - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:17 PM

        I too am a 45-year Redskin fan like the original commenter, fwhalstead1. But I’ve gotta admit I’m not that much of an X & O guy – and have NEVER watched an “All-22 film”, so I will gladly defer to him as far as to who-runs-plays-how.

        But one thing I am pretty sure of is that no QB on this team had much of a supporting cast, especially in terms of pass-blocking, either from the line or the blitz pickups. I can’t help but think all of their QBs (including Griffin) would perform much better if they weren’t being harassed consistently in less than three seconds! And while all the talk about Griffin’s taking 3-step drops instead of 5-step drops…yada…yada, goes over my head, that facet of the game does seem like something that can be practiced and learned. (I guess some say no.)

        The scheme left something to be desired too in my very untutored opinion, especially with the run game being abandoned early and often. That seemed to make the team very one-intentional…BY DESIGN(?). The read-option was pretty much abandoned also (until perhaps the last few games after Griffin was forced back into the lineup) despite my observations that it seemed to have gained popularity throughout the league.

        My personal opinion is that when the protection becomes better, the scheme gets better, and players get better that the two QBs will get better too. But back back to my earlier comment, if it all culminates in their leaving in free-agency after they do, you have to wonder, whats the point?

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:44 PM

          Those things can learned — Griffin simply needs the real game reps. And, as a QB, the only games he was atrocious in were vs. Tampa Bay and at San Francisco (going by ANY/A). He actually played around the league-average in all of his other games, which represent a much larger number of dropbacks. The TB/SF games were outliers.

          You’re also right about the schemes. Per John Keim, Gruden has used a lesser % of play-action plays with his QBs this season than Shanahan did with the Redskins. And, as I said before, Jay Gruden has hardly (if ever) overseen above-average offenses in the NFL. Look it up.

    • red - Jan 27, 2015 at 2:48 PM

      You are dead on. We have completely wasted time with these guys because neither looks thrilled to be in d.c. Robert never felt like he was our guy. We took another qb two rounds after him. Thats a nice confidence boost. Kirk says he wants to start after the meltdown he had last season. Im rewatching some games from last year and the main issue i see? Discipline. We have a bunch of undisciplined players. Every team has talent. All these guys that sit bench for all teams can have impact. They just need some confidence from coach. We will never get anywhere without some type of culture. We can draft the top five guys this year but they will just be new names on the roster. We have to develop talent. I will leave you with this Strengthen with Discipline

  4. mr.moneylover19 - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    A QB coach will help one of them if not both of them…we found out rg3 cant read defense yet once he learn that he will be start same as kirk cousins…colt mccoy show he can read defense in that dallas game the offensive line failed colt mccoy…I will feel more comfortable with colt mccoy under center with a fixed offensive line

  5. kenlinkins - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:27 PM

    So, do the Redskins call the RG3 deal and the Cousins Insurance Plan a false start and draft J. Winston (assumes he is still there at the 5 spot) in 2015? How long did it take before the Redskins had a shot at a top rated QB before RG3 came along? Does the new CBA make it easier for the Redskins to draft J. Winston (assumes the Redskins do not trade UP to get him). If J. Winston is the BPA and the Redskins are not settled at QB (which they are not) does it make sense to use another number one pick at the QB position or does it just add question marks to an area full of them? What would drafting a QB do to the Redskins locker room? Would it be safer to just avoid the QB position in the draft by picking a area of need (which there are many) even if after the Combine J. Winston knocks everyone’s socks off? At this point, I just do not know, but I am warming up to it!

    • Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:10 PM

      They draft Jailhouse and I’m done til Snyder sells the team. That idiot is going to drop like a stone in this draft once people get to interview him and realize what a mess he really is. Don’t forget how far down his numbers went this year without Kelvin Benjamin making him look like a superstar. Throw in the immaturity and he’s got a chance to rival Brady Quinn and Johnny Clipboard in his embarrassing draft day slide.

      Oh, and there’s absolutely no way Jailhouse is working out at the combine.

      • goback2rfk - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:51 PM

        Who do you think is better Jailhouse or Rg3?

      • kenlinkins - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:45 PM

        Joe, While I agree that J. Winston has not won any civics awards while at Fla. St. do you really believe that he falls into the same bucket as Brady Quinn or Johnny Football on draft day? I guess I am not as sure as you seem to be about that! Now if you had said JaMarcus Russell (picked first and then busted out) I would have said you may have a point as that risk has increased due to his own actions. Besides, IMO J. Winston has much more talent that Quinn or Mr. J Football and some team in the top 10 will call his name because of that talent. (and it just may be the Redskins).

      • red - Jan 27, 2015 at 10:32 PM

        If dan snyder hasnt given you enough reasons to jump ship yet you are just like the rest us. Just waiting. Dan snyder knows nothing about football. Most owners don’t but they hire guys that do. Snyder hires friends. Jerry jones hires prostitutes to be his friends. Who made the playoffs? We should have pay per view for our offseason. Its really been worth watching. Grudens clock countdown til he is a free agent i will start at 16 games…

  6. wildbill1952 - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:59 PM

    I believe that a second year will have a bigger impact on Cousins and RG III than Colt because this is really the first time either played in it. Having said that, Colt had a huge head start on both of them and played well by comparison, but all three left passes and plays on the field.

    The real question is which will have more of an impact – the second year in the offense by the QB’s or an improved offensive line. I guess that really depends on how much they improve the OLine.

  7. Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:02 PM

    Wow. $7 million for a guy who can’t play the position. Yikes.

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 28, 2015 at 1:11 AM

      More like $7 million for a guy who was the OROY and clear-cut best player on a team that won its 1st division title since the Y2K bug was still a thing. (And only its 2nd division title in 20+ seasons.)

      Even if Robert does nothing else for the rest of his career, that money was well-earned. The only other Redskins QBs since 1991 who had that kind of success were Brad Johnson and Mark Brunell. Mark didn’t lead a division winner but he was the QB for a Redskins team that won a playoff game; however he was supported by this thing called a defense. In that playoff win he posted 25 net yards/0 TDs/1INT over 18 dropbacks. Robert would be in the playoffs every season with that kind of defense.

  8. timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 28, 2015 at 1:29 AM

    Looks like we can save some ok money by cutting our 3rd string turnover machine QB

  9. murphsman - Jan 28, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    Imagine what RGIII could’ve done behind the Hogs. Archives

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