Now the Washington Redskins have really done it.
Just when the quarterback drama had subsided with Robert Griffin III heading to the injured list, Kirk Cousins lights up Philadelphia with a Week 3 aerial performance for the ages. There is no escaping the dicey implications if Cousins is going to continue to perform anywhere near the level he achieved while passing for 427 yards and three touchdowns Sunday.
Yes, the Eagles won the game 37-34, but thanks to Cousins (who did throw one interception) and the Redskins, the NFC East returned from the dead on Sunday in Philadelphia. This one had an epic feel to it, with two young quarterbacks matching each other throw for throw in a hard-hitting rivalry game featuring fights and ejections.
There will be implications when the teams play again in Week 16, but those could pale compared to the dilemma awaiting the Redskins as they navigate a situation that would be unprecedented in the current labor framework. All the other teams with first-round QBs drafted since the 2011 labor deal either knew their guy was The Guy (think Cam Newton) or were pretty sure their guy was not (Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker). Deciding whether to exercise expensive fifth-year contract options was easy for those teams. It could be a lot more complicated for the Redskins -- as I discovered while running through scenarios with a long-time NFL executive and former general manager.
It's the first of my 10 biggest takeaways from Week 3.
1. Cousins' emergence makes life interesting for the Redskins.
Cousins' four-year rookie deal runs through the 2015 season. Rules allow drafted players to renegotiate their rookie deals after three seasons, which means Cousins, like Griffin, will become eligible to discuss a new contract after the current season. But before the Redskins consider their options with Cousins, they'll need to decide by March whether to exercise the fifth-year option for Griffin. With an assist from the former GM, here are some options to consider, along with their potential implications: