Here's why Redskins trade for Case Keenum was a smart move, could actually turn into Josh Rosen

It somehow feels like it happened several weeks ago, but less than 24 hours ago the Redskins traded for Case Keenum and it was a big deal. Quarterbacks being traded ahead of free agency are always a big story and always a big surprise, even when it's a guy like Keenum, who has been relegated to bench duty in Denver thanks to the acquisition of Joe Flacco

Don't let it fly under the radar, though, because the Redskins getting Keenum is a huge deal and it's a really smart move by them. 

That isn't hyperbole from the guy who touted Washington as a potential NFC East winner with Alex Smith, it's the truth, mostly because, as I debated with John Breech on the Pick Six Podcast Friday, it alters their place in the quarterback free agent, draft and trade market.

Heading into this offseason, the Redskins have nothing at quarterback. Smith is a complete question mark -- his broken leg last year could end his career and it certainly puts playing at a high level in 2019 at very low odds. Playing at all next year would be a win for Smith. Colt McCoy is the old standby, but he broke his leg too. 

Keenum's ceiling -- which he achieved in 2017 with the Vikings when he completed 67.6 percent of his passes with 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions -- is basically an average Smith season. This can work for the Redskins, especially at the price of $3.5 million, a pittance for a starting-caliber quarterback. 

More importantly, though, Keenum takes them out of a bad leverage position in other acquisition areas. The Redskins had no choice but to get another quarterback, either through trade, free agency or the draft. Without Keenum on the roster, they wouldn't be able to show any leverage in free agent negotiations. Maybe they love Nick Foles (I don't think they do, but just play along). If they want to land him on a cheap deal when he doesn't have a good market, it would be impossible without Keenum on the roster. Foles' agents could squeeze them for every penny. Now they can play chicken.

Same with the draft. If the Redskins don't trade for Keenum and don't sign anyone in free agency (again, play along), they would essentially be forced to use the No. 15 overall pick on a quarterback or trade up to get one. That quarterback would likely have to start in Week 1 with a minimal group of skill position talent around him. It's a disaster waiting to happen. 

In the trade market, the Redskins might be interested in Josh Rosen. Without Keenum on the roster, Washington might be forced into giving up some serious capital to the Cardinals in exchange for Rosen. Once again, they can play hardball now. And, more importantly, as pointed out by several followers on Twitter, perhaps the Redskins just landed themselves a nifty little trade chip in the form of Keenum. 

Washington has been rumored as a possible landing spot for Rosen in a trade. They need a quarterback with a starting skillset, Rosen would work in Jay Gruden's offense and the Redskins offensive line would be a major help/upgrade for the young quarterback after playing in Arizona. It would obviously clear the way for Kyler Murray to go No. 1 overall. 

And Keenum, who played for Cards coach Kliff Kingsbury when the two were under Kevin Sumlin in Houston, would be a pretty nice little pairing to send back to the Cards. Add Keenum -- who might have signed in Arizona anyway had he become a free agent -- with some draft picks (maybe a third-rounder) and ask for Rosen in return. 

The Cards should be eager to do the deal as they'd be able to dump Rosen, set themselves up to take Kyler, add a reliable backup that Kingsbury trusts and pick up an additional pick or two in the process. 

It makes a ton of sense. And even if it doesn't happen, the Redskins have prevented themselves from getting leveraged in any of the QB markets and/or finding themselves in the unique and disastrous position of not even having a quarterback at all. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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