By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
With ex-Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan expected to officially become the Browns’ offensive coordinator in a matter of days, predictable rumblings about quarterback Kirk Cousins possibly joining him in Cleveland have already surfaced.
The Redskins have made it clear that Robert Griffin III is their starting quarterback, so Cousins has had discussions with the franchise’s hierarchy and is open to being traded, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday. Cleveland could be a destination for Cousins, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources.
Shanahan had been the offensive coordinator of the Redskins since 2010. In the 2012 NFL Draft, the franchise picked Griffin second overall and Cousins in the fourth round (102nd overall).
In his former job as an NFL Network analyst, Browns General Manager Mike Lombardi made it known he’s a fan of Cousins. In 2012, he wrote a column for NFL.com explaining that Shanahan could bring Cousins to his next coaching job. Shanahan had an “ace up his sleeve” in Cousins, Lombardi wrote.
Cousins, 25, has started four games in his career.
Filling in for an injured Griffin during his lone start as a rookie, Cousins shredded the Browns and led the Redskins to a 38-21 win on Dec. 16, 2012. He completed 26-of-37 passes (70.30 percent) for 329 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, posting a passer rating of 104.4.
But in three consecutive starts to end the 2013 season, Cousins wasn’t as hot. He threw four touchdown passes and five interceptions as the Redskins lost all three games.
The Browns have the fourth overall pick in May’s draft, and it would be surprising if they didn’t target a quarterback early to pair with Brian Hoyer, who led the team to two victories last season before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Still, there are countless other scenarios that could unfold this offseason, so it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on Cousins.
No matter how the Browns choose to address their quarterback situation, players can’t be traded until March 11. The draft will run May 8-10.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.