Cousins has served as Robert Griffin III backup for the last two seasons after being selected in the same draft as the former second overall pick.
Cousins was productive in relief of Griffin in 2012, when he went 33-of-48 on passes for 466 passing yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in three games (one start). This caused the former Michigan State passer to have some talk as a possible trade chip throughout the 2013 offseason. He was not dealt by the Redskins prior to the start of the year, however.
This past season, Cousins was given extended playing time after Griffin was benched for injury and failed to live up to his high expectations. The Redskins failed to win a game in 2013 with Cousins at the helm and he was 81-of-155 on passes for 854 passing yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions.
While the desire for Cousins as a starter may have cooled by the media and fans, it does not mean that other front offices are opposed to dealing for him. The Browns, Vikings, Raiders, Jaguars, Texans, Jets and Titans could all use competition for the starting quarterback position. With that said, there are not necessarily that many good free agent and draft options available to start right away for all of those teams.
"If he lights it up, hey, maybe we can bring a first-round draft choice back to this organization, and say hey, who are we gonna take in the first round," Shanahan said. "And I think by him playing and Robert not playing, it gives us a chance to have a few options for our organization that we wouldn't normally have, and the safety of our quarterback going into the offseason is preserved."
Backup quarterbacks that have excelled in the absence of starters have proven to be valuable commodities. The Eagles twice got second round picks for their backup quarterbacks A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb showed skills in limited action. Kolb's deal also included former Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Falcons got two second round picks from the Texans for Matt Schaub in 2007 after he started only two games in a three-year span.
Cousins would probably be best served in a West Coast Offense, which is run by the Jets. New York won eight games in 2013 and could be a quarterback away from contending for the playoffs. A competition between Cousins and Geno Smith could bring the best out of both passer and give the team options at quarterback. Perhaps the Jets would be willing to surrender a Day 2 pick to acquire the Redskins backup.