Kyle Shanahan: 'Kirk's a hell of a player'

He praised him. He knew he couldn’t push for him, at least not publicly.

When it comes to Kirk Cousins, new Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said what you would expect: that he likes him. But whether or not he’d lobby the Browns to trade for him is another matter.

"You're walking a fine line of getting me in a lot of trouble because I'm not allowed to comment on other people that are under contract,'' Shanahan told Cleveland radio station 92.3 The Fan Thursday. "So I can't really go to that aspect.''

Shanahan nearly got in trouble for something similar in Washington, when he discussed Peyton Manning and whether or not he’d want him -- before Indianapolis had released him.

Cleveland.com reporter Mary Kay Cabot wrote that a source told her it’s “highly unlikely” the Browns would trade for him. It makes little sense why they would: Cleveland has a quarterback it reportedly likes in Brian Hoyer, who should be recovered from knee surgery sometime in early spring. The Browns also have the fourth pick in the draft and most expect them to spend it on a quarterback. Also, there’s a chance they’d have to trade up. So why surrender another draft pick for Cousins, who would still have to beat out Hoyer? Minus the Shanahan connection, there’s little reason to believe it would -- or should -- happen. At least not for a draft pick that would tempt Washington.

Besides, Shanahan won’t have that much power.

Regardless, Shanahan remains a fan of Cousins, who has let it be known that he’d welcome a trade. Cousins informed the Redskins of this before Jay Gruden was even hired as a coach. Cousins also knew a primary topic during the coaching interviews was how to maximize quarterback Robert Griffin III's ability.

"I think Kirk's a hell of a player,'' Shanahan said. "That's one of the reasons we took him coming out of Michigan State. He did a good job there in college, and the times we needed him, he came in 1 1/2 games his rookie year, and he did a real good job and he got to play in the last three games this year, which it was good for him to get a little bit more experience.

"He had some good moments, and he had some moments I think he'll learn from, but I think Kirk did a good job for us and really was a good backup player for us out there.''