It seems like every Joe in America has already sealed Kirk Cousins' fate.
Most believe the Redskins' starting QB — who is playing on his second-straight franchise tag season — will put together another decent outing and then head for greener pastures. His name has been linked to the 49ers and the Rams, two destinations with former Skins' offensive coordinators as new head coaches.
The Washington brass has butchered this situation for the last two years and sure, that's probably a likely ending to the whole saga. Cousins hasn't showed any real interest in signing a long-term deal, but the Skins' offers have been almost insulting, despite what Bruce Allen said in a message to the fan base.
So here we are. Training camp started on Thursday and the usual drama is swirling around the Redskins.
Let's all take a step back for a moment, though. There are a ton of moving parts here and no one except Cousins really knows the plan for the future.
Here are the factors in play:
Redskins 2017 Season
Everyone is just kind of overlooking the immediate future. Washington enters the season coming off a 8-7-1 record where it barely missed the playoffs. Yes, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are long gone, but there is a young core of receivers and the addition of Terrelle Pryor will clearly help things.
More importantly — there have been major overhauls on defense, a unit that killed Washington a season ago. Last year — the Redskins' offense finished No. 3 in total yards with 6,454 — and that's pretty damn good. Defensively though? The Skins closed out the year ranked No. 28 of 32 teams. Ugly stuff.
Instead of being complacent, the Redskins hired a new defensive coordinator, key coaches along the defensive staff and added plenty of upgrades like D.J. Swearinger (safety) and Zach Brown (linebacker) through free agency, while obtaining Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster and some other key defensive prospects through the draft.
If the defense can step up in a major way and the offense can come close to replicating last year's production, then you're looking at a solid team on both sides of the ball.
What if the Skins' somehow make the playoffs? You really think they let Cousins walk?
"If you win football games, everything takes care of itself," Cousins said in his opening training camp press conference. "If you win, there will be plenty of opportunities."
The Rest of the NFC East
Does anyone have any clue who the front runner in the NFC East really is? Las Vegas still pegs Dallas as the favorite with 5/4 odds, while Washington sits at the bottom with 9/2 odds.
The Cowboys had a stellar campaign last year, but now there are serious concerns around Zeke Elliot and his issues off the field. There's a decent chance Dak Prescott takes a step back and there are some other key suspensions and losses on both sides of the ball.
The Giants got hot late in 2016-17, but that just doesn't feel like a team who will dominate the division. I fully understand how much better their defense has improved, but am not convinced its enough to crown New York with the NFC East.
The Eagles? Sure, everything is primed for Carson Wentz to have a breakout season. We shall see.
I'm trying to stay objective here but it appears the NFC East will be wide open like it is most years. It will likely come down to a final-week showdown to claim the division, and there's a good chance another team will sneak in the playoffs as a wildcard.
Kirk Cousins' future
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) July 27, 2017
Cousins has thrown for 9,083 yards and 54 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Even with the turnover at receiver, there is enough talent on Washington's offense for Cousins to at least replicate the success he found in the last two years. As former Skins' offensive coordinator and new Rams' head coach Sean McVay noted last season, the Washington offense runs through the tight ends (Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis) opening up seams for the other pass catchers.
If Cousins does exactly what he did last season the Redskins' brass will have to throw the bank at him. It would be 100 percent foolish to let him sign with another team — and I don't know why — but I have a gut feeling Dan Snyder and company will actually do the right thing (and while it's wasteful because they could have locked him down a long time ago) throw the checkbook at Cousins. There have been 16 starting QBs in 17 seasons in Washington. This doesn't take any deep thinking or analysis. The Redskins have a capable NFL starter right now and should see enough in his third season leading the charge to write the big boy check.