In the aftermath there is a lot of finger pointing going on from the Redskins side towards recently fired general manager Scot McCloughan. But at the height of the issues, possibly him relapsing with alcohol, there was a power struggle between he and team president Bruce Allen, a battle that ultimately Allen won. While tension built over other battles, their biggest squabble was over what to do with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
The narrative has changed, so to speak, with who was on the former Michigan State Spartan’s side. McCloughan longed for a long-term deal for Cousins, and through all the hesitation from Allen and quite possibly owner Dan Snyder, frustration mounted and a whirlwind of issues brewed from it.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB shined some more light the Cousins contract negotiations.
To grasps the full tension between Allen and McCloughan, Breer described how it took McCloughan five hours to convince Allen and Snyder to bench Robert Griffin III in favor of Cousins.
The then-GM met for five hours one night that summer to try and convince owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen that the time had come, and the team needed to move from Robert Griffin III to Kirk Cousins. Soon thereafter, with Cousins installed as starter, and believing he was in for a big year, McCloughan made a second appeal to the team’s top brass.
McCloughan wanted to re-sign Cousins to a long-term deal, feeling Cousins would blossom in Jay Gruden’s offensive system. However his appeal to Allen and Snyder did not go over. And therefore, he had to watch as Cousins set a franchise record for most single-season passing yards and ultimately leading the team to the NFC East title. Finally, the team’s brass gave in and OK’d an extension. But by that time, Cousins was red-hot and his camp decided to wait until the end of the season, as his value had escalated.
At the root of the balking to McCloughan’s initial request to extend Cousins, was that some people within the organization, according to Breer, did not want to upset Griffin, thinking they may still need him later in the season. Fair thinking to a degree. Cousins had yet to prove he was worthy of being the chosen one to all. McCloughan was high on him, in fact it was reported in the past, he was high on Cousins back when McCloughan was in the Seattle Seahawks’ front office.
Cousins had a great season that ultimately led to the team placing a franchise tag on him and letting Griffin walk in free agency the following offseason. However, looking in hindsight, all the drama of Cousins’ contract negotiations and quite possibly between Allen and McCloughan could have been avoided had the powers that be trusted McCloughan’s decision to completely move on to Cousins, full force.
By now we know how this has played out. Cousins was franchised tagged at nearly $20 million for 2016, framing negotiations for a long-term deal. He then broke his own record with 4,917 passing yards, becoming the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for multiple 4,000-yard seasons let alone back-to-back. Cousins still does not have a long-term deal, he was franchise tagged a second consecutive season, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to do so, at the price tag of $24 million in 2017. McCloughan is fired, Allen appears in control of personnel moves, and the Redskins appear headed back to back of the line to uncertainty and a drama-filled culture. If this continues to play out badly for the Redskins, fans and media alike will be able to point to these described moments as the downfall of the team.