The Kirk Cousins era in Washington is unofficially over. Alex Smith is the new sheriff in town. The Redskins agreed to a trade for Smith, the Chiefs starting quarterback. In exchange the Redskins will give the Chiefs their 2018 third round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has swindled the Redskins yet again.
In 2010 the Redskins traded for longtime Eagles starting quarterback Donovan McNabb. The Eagles received a second round pick in the 2010 draft and a fourth round pick in the 2011 draft. Reid, the Eagles head coach at the time, was fine with letting McNabb leave knowing he was past his prime. In 2010 McNabb threw a career high 15 interceptions in just 13 games. McNabb was benched late in the season and was traded to the Vikings the following summer for a sixth round pick.
The Redskins trade for Smith will become official in mid March when the league year starts. Acquiring Smith makes sense if Washington is resigned to losing Cousins. Losing Fuller in the process is baffling.
In the modern era of the NFL the slot cornerback is becoming increasingly important as more and more offenses try to spread defenses out. According to Sharp Football Stats only six offenses were in a three wide formation less than 50 percent of the time. Eight teams had three wide receivers on the field 70 percent or more of the time.
NFL1000 Scouts Ian Wharton and Doug Farrar graded Fuller as the top slot defender in the league. “The 22-year-old looks like the future face of the position after such a tremendous campaign” said Wharton via Bleacher Report.
When news of the trade broke initially it was an unnamed Redskins player that was included in the trade. Fuller responded to the speculation:
Mannnnn im safe! I ain’t get traded
— Kendall Fuller (@KeFu11er) January 31, 2018
Just over an hour later he realized that he was wrong and sent out this tweet.
Me on Twitter after tweeting all that then finding out i got traded! 😂 pic.twitter.com/YHhCzzcsZj
— Kendall Fuller (@KeFu11er) January 31, 2018
DJ Swearinger, the Redskins defensive captain last season, was furious when he realized that Fuller was the unnamed player included in the trade.
Oh this had to be a joke with K Fuller Right???
— DJ Swearinger (@JungleBoi_Swagg) January 31, 2018
Fuller is entering his third NFL season and will be just 23 years old when the season starts. Well-run organizations do not let budding young star players leave town. The Seahawks are an excellent example. The Legion of Boom, a nickname for the Seahawks secondary, is primarily made up of cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. All three are in their late 20s and have only played for one organization- the Seahawks. The Seahawks also reached an extension with Russell Wilson their star quarterback prior to him entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2015.
Elite NFL franchises draft well and re-sign their core players. They certainly do not let their prize assets go. The Redskins are not an elite organization. Labeling them as good would be misleading as well. The Washington Redskins are a mediocre franchise on a good day.
Washington let general manager Scot McCloughan go in March 2017 allegedly due to his issues with alcoholism. According to NFL.com “on the day McCloughan was let go, one player told The Post: ‘I don’t know what their issue is with him, but all the players love Scot.’”
McCloughan helped led Washington to back-to-back winning seasons. The Redskins claimed that McCloughan showed up to the locker room drunk multiple times. Whether that is true is anyone’s guess. What is undeniable is that McCloughan is one of the best talent evaluators in the NFL and the Redskins let him go. McCloughan commented on the Redskins trading Fuller to the Chiefs saying that it was a mistake.
I would have never traded Kendall. He can play inside & outside, he's high character, young & a football player https://t.co/DFpx4au6oG
— Scot Mccloughan (@MccloughanScot) January 31, 2018
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and team president Bruce Allen are at the heart of the problem. Both are responsible for the drama surrounding Cousins and his lack of a long-term deal. They gambled and lost.
Cousins will leave via free agency this offseason. Washington acquired an older albeit more proven quarterback. Cousins will be 30 years old when the 2018 season starts. Smith will be 34.
Smith has a career record of 88-62-1 as a starter. Cousins is 26-30-1. Part of that is that the Chiefs are a better team and a more well run organization. Smith is also less mistaken prone than Cousins. Cousins had 13 interceptions last season. Smith threw five interceptions.
After the Redskins mishandling of Cousins it makes sense to acquire another proven quarterback. Trading away a prized asset in Fuller as compensation is a mistake that may haunt the Redskins. The last star cornerback that the Redskins traded away was Champ Bailey. Bailey ended his career as a 12-time Pro Bowler who was named to the 2000s All-Decade Team. Bailey will undoubtedly be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day. Hopefully this is not history repeating itself for the Redskins sake.