Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports



Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is on track to receive a big payday following the 2017 season. It is yet to be determined if that payday will come from his current team or one of the other 31 – like the San Francisco 49ers.

Since the 49ers hired Kyle Shanahan as their head coach in February, there has been massive speculation that Cousins could be a future candidate for the 49ers' quarterback job. The link makes sense considering the two worked together for two seasons in Washington. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator from 2010 through 2013. Cousins was drafted by Washington in 2012.

Washington head coach Jay Gruden jumped on a conference call with Bay Area media on Wednesday morning. While Gruden said he would love for Cousins to remain in Washington, he understands the NFL is a business and you don't always get what you want.

"At the end of the day, this is a business and contracts are what they are," Gruden said. "Players have agents and the player's always going to do what he thinks is best for himself and the family. Kirk's a great guy and we intend on keeping him and that is the plan, I would think.

"But I'm sure not just San Francisco -- if he was a free agent, I'm sure a lot of teams coming after him. So, it's not just San Francisco and Kirk knows that. The more that Kirk puts on film that he performs well, like he has the last couple of weeks, the harder it will be to keep him around but I think we'll do the best we can to keep him."

Through four games this season, Cousins has completed over 66-percent of his passes for 1,004 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception. His passer rating of 107.6 ranks ninth in the NFL and he has the fourth-highest Pro Football Focus quarterback rating (93.1), which accounts for dropped passes, throw aways, spikes, and other factors. Just Alex Smith, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees have better Pro Football Focus quarterback ratings.

Gruden on Reuben Foster and the 49ers defense


The 49ers hope that rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, along with safety Eric Reid, will be able to return to practice on Wednesday. Foster has been recovering from a high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has made no guarantees about Foster's availability when they kick off against Washington on Sunday.

"I think we'll prepare for Reuben," Gruden said. "Reuben was, quite frankly, probably my second-favorite defensive player in the draft behind Jonathan Allen, who we got in the first round. I think he's an excellent player and he can run, he can hit, he can cover, everything you want a linebacker to do. I think he's a force and then you throw him on there with the three first-rounders they've got on the defensive line [in Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Solomon Thomas] and NaVorro [Bowman] and, obviously, Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward, they've got a heck of a defense personnel-wise.

"The outside backers can rush. They've got Elvis Dumervil coming on third down. [Aaron] Lynch is a heck of a rusher. It's a heck of a defense. They don't get enough credit for the skill that they have. Adding Reuben to the mix will make it even better."