Profootballtalk.com reported today that "per a league source, there's a growing belief in some circles that the Browns will try to acquire Cousins via trade."
But that's not expected to happen because of the high compensation it would take to get Cousins, and because of the high salary he would command. The Browns would likely have to give up their No. 12 pick this year and most likely at least a first-rounder next year.
In addition, they'd probably have to make any deal contingent upon a multi-year extension, because they wouldn't want to give up all those draft assets to rent Cousins for one year at $23.94 million, the franchise tender he signed on Friday.
But three other teams have tried to trade for Cousins in the last 10 days or so and were quickly shot down, a source said.
That's consistent with what Cousins told ESPN's Adam Schefter on a podcast Tuesday in which he denied the report that he asked Redskins owner Dan Snyder to trade him.
"I'm not sure how it got out, but I did just inquire as to Mr. Snyder and to Bruce Allen if there was any interest in trading me just to get an understanding of their perspective," Cousins said on the podcast, via The Washington Times. "And the answer I got back was Mr. Snyder communicated his belief in me and his desire for me to remain a Redskin and his desire to help me by surrounding the quarterback position with all the players and coaches that you need to succeed, and that's the kind of message you want to hear from the owner of your team."
Another source said Cousins has expressed to teammates that he's excited about the coming season and the chance to work with former Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor.
Likewise, the Browns are not believed to be interested in former Jets quarterback Geno Smith despite an NFL Network report to the contrary.
The Browns will still try to make a run at Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and if they can't land him, they'll turn their attention to other veterans such as Cincinnati's AJ McCarron, who played for Hue Jackson in Cincinnati.
Bengals owner Mike Brown probably won't want to trade McCarron to his AFC North rivals, but would probably at least discuss it with Jackson, with whom he has a great relationship. Brown tried to keep Jackson in Cincinnati to eventually succeed Marvin Lewis, but Jackson opted for the Browns job instead.
The Browns are also studying all the top prospects in the draft, including Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and DeShone Kizer.
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