49ers at Redskins
Kirk Cousins' future is a heavily discussed topic, and the quarterback will compete against one of his potential future employers when the Washington Redskins host the winless San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Cousins could become a free agent after the season and repeatedly is being linked to the 49ers due to the presence of first-year coach Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator in Washington during Cousins' first two NFL campaigns (2012-13).
The 29-year-old Cousins turned down a two-year, $53 million contract in the offseason, and it isn't clear if the Redskins will use the franchise tender on him for a third straight year or allow him to become a free agent. "There's just so much to do between now and then, and this league is so challenging, and it's about right now and it's about doing all I can right now to hopefully be in a position where Washington won't let me leave or doesn't want me to leave because I've done my job," Cousins told reporters. "So that's where my focus lies and we'll see how it all shakes out." Shanahan downplays the situation and Redskins coach Jay Gruden opined that there will be more teams than the 49ers interested if Cousins hits the open market. For now, San Francisco is one of three remaining winless teams in the NFL while the Redskins are aiming to move above .500.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Redskins -11. O/U: 46.5
ABOUT THE 49ERS (0-5): San Francisco has scored 15 or fewer points three times as an offense led by quarterback Bobby Hoyer (1,211 yards, four touchdowns, four interceptions). Running back Carlos Hyde (332 yards) gained just 11 yards on eight carries in last Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to Indianapolis while receiver Pierre Garcon (28 receptions, 379 yards) figures to be highly motivated after playing the last five seasons in Washington. Three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who had a team-leading 38 tackles, was released on Friday after voicing displeasure over reduced playing time, while the club hopes to see rookie weak-side linebacker Reuben Foster (ankle) back on the field after a four-game absence.
ABOUT THE REDSKINS (2-2): Cousins has passed for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception, and his 107.6 quarterback rating is fourth-best in the league. Washington hasn't replaced Garcon's production as running back Chris Thompson has recorded a team-best 235 receiving yards and is tied for the club lead with 14 catches, while the running game also has been inconsistent with rookie Samaje Perine (143 yards, 3.1 average) having a long gain of just 12 yards. Inside linebacker Zach Brown has been superb and is tied for second in the NFL with 42 tackles, while strong-side linebacker Preston Brown has recorded a team-best four sacks.
1. The 49ers have won each of the last four meetings and hold a 17-9-1 series advantage.
2. Washington TE Vernon Davis (eight receptions, 160 yards) caught 55 touchdown passes in nine-plus seasons (2006-15) with San Francisco.
3. San Francisco signed veteran Leon Hall (27 interceptions in 10 seasons) and placed fellow CB Asa Jackson (hamstring) on injured reserve.