Aug 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan on the field before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
What about the Washington Redskins will help lure in a new general manager after Scot McCloughan’s firing?
When the Washington Redskins fired their former general manager Scot McCloughan, there wasn’t a plan to replace him immediately.
Weeks have passed and the team is moving on. No one want the job after seeing what could be the worst exit interview in the league. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock was rumored to be a candidate for the job, but he killed that noise quick:
Shortly after this announcement, the Redskins moved forward. There have been no names to arise in the rumor mills of the NFL. They know they’ve blown any chance at finding a general manager, for the moment at least.
In response, they’re putting all the pieces in place to present a complete package. The team will look different, it will play different, and it will be operated different. No matter what the critics think, the Redskins will be the perfect business model for any GM prospect this season.
Yes, there’s a bit of unrest, but the positives outweigh the negatives here. With that in mind, here are three factors in play with the Redskins that make them an attractive landing spot for a new general manager.
Dec 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in action during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Redskins defeat the Bears 41-21. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
1. One-Year Contracts Give GM’s Flexibility Immediately
That’s right. The lack of a long-term contract for Kirk Cousins means a new general manager isn’t committed to a quarterback from the “old regime.” What do you do to keep everything a movable piece? Offer one-year contracts.
When you see news of unrestricted free agents signing one-year deals, don’t be surprised. It’s the opportunity for the next general manager to cut and keep who he wants. Players who received multi-year deals serve critical needs:
Former Raiders defensive end Stacy McGee signed a five-year, $25 million contract.
Tight end Vernon Davis signed a three-year, $15 million contract.
Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the New York Giants in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Giants won 19-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jay Gruden is “The” Guy At Head Coach
If they knew they were going to fire McCloughan early in the off season, signing Redskins head coach Jay Gruden to a multi-year deal was more important than signing Cousins. Gruden has shown more promise than recent Redskins coaches, and has the numbers to prove it.
Over the last two seasons, the Redskins have collected a 17-14-1 regular season record along with another NFC East title in 2015.
The back-to-back winning seasons are also the first since the 1996-97 seasons when the Redskins also went 17-14-1 during that span.
Gruden knows he’s broken through the line when it comes to Redskins stability at head coach. The multi-year deal means there’s time for him to etch a true legacy with the team, and build the right team with the right general manager.
That kind of stability is invaluable. No GM wants to deal with a revolving door of head coaches that are constantly changing what direction they’d like the team to go in. Gruden is in for the long-haul with the Redskins, and there will be no flip-flopping regarding his desired direction for the team.
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
3. Redskins Can Wow Candidates With Strong NFL Draft
The Washington Redskins had a decent offseason when it came to free agent signings. This left the quarterback and running back positions available for an upgrade. This also gives a new GM several different scenarios to look at:
Prepare to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract, and draft a defensive lineman or an running back in the first round.
Don’t’ sign Cousins, draft a quarterback in the first round, defensive lineman in the Second round.
Draft a running back in the first round, and snag a quarterback somewhere in Rounds 2-4.
Grabbing a quarterback in a later round isn’t surprising. Cousins was was a 2012 fourth-round draft pick. Even if he’s not the guy that the franchise currently envisions as their future at the position, finding a player who’s been as productive as Cousins in the mid rounds is a definitively positive sign.
Entering the general manager position with these combinations aren’t bad bargaining chips. Even though Redskins president Bruce Allen doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about hiring someone soon (as per this Washington Times article), all the pieces are in place for the right person.