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Cleveland Browns: Impacts of the Alex Smith trade

Cleveland Browns: Impacts of the Alex Smith trade

With Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith traded to the Redskins and Cousins set to become a free agent in March, the Browns will explore the possibility of signing him, and every other available veteran.

The Washington Redskins seemingly acquired their starting quarterback going forward in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs that brought Alex Smith to Washington in exchange for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round draft pick. Therefore, they're more likely to seriously pursue the next tier of quarterbacks, including Cincinnati's AJ McCarron, whoever shakes out from the Vikings, and other potential free agents. Also for Washington, their time with Kirk Cousins is now up.

Meaning, Cousins may not end up being the league's top free agent after all, which would be big news to teams like the Jets, Broncos, Cardinals, Browns, Bills, Jaguars and Vikings, who are in search of a solid quarterback.

But what about a possible tag-and-trade situation in which Washington could get more than a 2019 compensatory third-rounder for Cousins?

The Redskins would immediately place a $34.5 million hold on their salary cap, essentially frozen cap space until Cousins agrees to the franchise tag.

"I knew it would be a tough decision if it came down to deciding what to do in free agency", Cousins told ESPN's NFL Live on Friday.

Cousins turned in the 20th-most Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back among the 35 quarterbacks to top 200 drop backs in 2017. The Redskins, with Robert Griffin III on the roster and with uncertainty over Cousins' future, wanted to wait. For Kansas City, Andy Reid and the front office are ready to hand the keys of the offense over to Patrick Mahomes, a player who KC spent a first round pick on in last year's draft. Several hours before the trade leaked out, one source close to Cousins said they had no idea if the Redskins would tag him or let him test the market. "I haven't had a chance to pick where I wanted to play since 2007 when I chose to go to Michigan State".

Cousins has gone on the record as saying that money will not the sole determining factor, however, as after dealing with the Redskins he wants to join a stable franchise that can also win, which would take the Browns out of the running. Three teams were mentioned by National Football League execs as the most likely landing spots for Cousins. Cousins would be allowed to seek offers from other teams.

Sure, they could. They have two second-round picks this year (37th and 49th).

"Anytime you hear positive things from your peers it means a great deal", Cousins told USA Today.


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