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Saturday, December 15, 2012
Twitter mailbag: Kirk Cousins' value

By Dan Graziano

It is Week 3 of the Twitter mailbag and it seems to be working quite well. At various times during the week I have solicited submissions at the @ESPN_NFCEast Twitter account, but at any time you can tweet a question using the hashtag #nfceastmail and I will see it. I pick a few each week and answer them best I can. Like this, see?

@gotfanhood: Do you see the Skins trading Cousins for picks down the road?

@ESPN_NFCEast: The Washington Redskins picked quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round because Mike Shanahan liked his abilities and thought he'd make a good backup quarterback to Robert Griffin III in his system. After last season, when he toggled between Rex Grossman and John Beck with rotten results, Shanahan knew he could have taken an offensive linemen or some such "need" position in that round. But as he put it when I asked about it during minicamp, "How often do you find a quarterback you like in the fourth round?" So the primary reason Cousins was taken was to back up Griffin, and he might well get the start Sunday if Griffin can't go. However, the answer to your question is that Shanahan would be thrilled if he could develop Cousins in a backup role and trade him for a high pick or something of value in a couple of years, the way the Eagles did with Kevin Kolb last summer. It is undoubtedly in the back of Shanahan's mind that this is a possible outcome, as long as Griffin stays healthy and Cousins shows something in preseason and his relief work.




@StashingtonDC: Do you see Colt Anderson as a solution for the Eagles at S?

@ESPN_NFCEast: I don't think Anderson fits the "solution" category for the Philadelphia Eagles at safety, but he has played surprisingly well the last couple of weeks as the Eagles have needed him to fill in due to injuries. We all know what Anderson brings on special teams, but until this point he'd shown nothing to warrant any kind of role on the defense. But now that he has, it helps the Eagles' offseason plans to know he can play it and that they have some depth there. Helps their leverage with free agents, maybe makes them think twice about reaching for that position in the draft, knowing they at least have somebody who can do a competent job. If nothing else, even if they have two new starters there next year, knowing Anderson is a capable backup helps them construct the rest of their roster.




@jbeansy217: What would you suggest be done with Doug Free? Should he be traded, does he have value and should we just bench him?

@ESPN_NFCEast: Well, the Dallas Cowboys won't be able to trade underperforming tackle Doug Free for anything of legitimate value, since he's had two bad years in a row now. And cutting him will cost them. I believe the cap hit is $8.35 million, though I think they could split that up over two years if they wait until June 1 to cut him. They obviously saw something in him once -- in his 2010 contract season, to be precise -- to make them think he could be a top tackle. And he's only 28 years old, so it's not as though he's done. Maybe another offseason with Bill Callahan helps, but this is a tough call. To bench him and pay him that kind of salary while he works out his problems is almost as tough a pill to swallow as paying him not to pay. I think that June 1 cut is the most likely scenario.




@Bliz_Atl: if Bradshaw is inactive do nyg take kr duties from Wilson? He's so dangerous. But there's a reason no starting rbs return kicks

@ESPN_NFCEast: New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw will be inactive for Sunday's game in Atlanta, and the plan is to start rookie David Wilson in his place, with newly signed veterans Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin as backups. So the question is, if Wilson's now a starting running back, does it make sense to keep him on kick returns? I think the answer for Sunday is yes. He's been so good on kick returns that you really weaken yourself there if you take him out. I think spelling Wilson for a series or two with Lumpkin or Torain is a much better way to get him rest than to replace him on kickoff returns with Jerrel Jernigan or whoever else would be next in line there. Wilson is young and certainly hasn't been overworked this year. If you were talking about a full season, or even a month or two, I could see giving Wilson a break on returns. But I don't think having him return three or four kickoffs a game is going to hurt his ability to deliver as a running back. I don't see Wilson having the same kind of game he had against the Saints, by the way. He's got great talent but is still unpolished, and I expect that to show up if he gets 20-plus carries against one of the top 31 rush defenses in the league.




Thanks for all of the questions. Talk to you again next week.