The Redskins are (3-11) and playing out the string on another season of misery and woe. They don't lose, they implode.
They are (27-54) under Bruce Allen since he was hired on December 17, 2009, which is now- five-plus years ago.
He was originally hired as the General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations and currently he is the President and General Manager.
If you would have said to me that the Redskins organization would be in worse shape five years after Allen arrived and that Mike Shanahan would be hired three weeks into his tenure and fired within four years of that appointment, I would have said you were completely insane.
There was no way that I could have thought that - yet a extremely legitimate argument more than exists to say exactly that.
It's hard to prove, but here are the top ten reasons why it might be (is?) true.
1. In the five years preceding Allen's arrival, the Redskins were (38-42) from late December 2004 until the game before he was hired in Washington, the last win Jim Zorn ever had as a head coach ( at Oakland).
Again, in the five years since that announcement, the Redskins are (27-54). That says all you need to know, in most fans eyes.
2. The Redskins are not in great (by any means) salary cap shape moving forward. In 2014, for a current (3-11) team the Redskins had an adjusted cap number of $132,165,268 compared to other teams like Buffalo (151 million), Cleveland (157 million), Philadelphia (150 million) just to name a few. All three of those teams are in current battles for playoff spots with two weeks to go.
Because the Redskins are spending so much of their current payroll on dead money charges from player contracts no longer with the team (London Fletcher, Josh Morgan, etc), they have a much lower adjusted cap figure and because of that, Washington is less than $200,000 under the cap maximum value. One source has it at 181,493.00 under.
That's important because bad teams usually have huge rollover figures from one cap year to the next cap year. That's how some bad teams get in excess of forty million dollars to spend.
The Redskins have no such thing. Different sources have slightly different numbers but as of right now the team will have in the neighborhood of 15-20 million dollars of cap room.
OvertheCap.com has the Redskins projected space for 2015
at 16.269 million based on a dead even 140 million dollar projected cap. That's not a lot of money to improve a roster that is in desperate need of significant repairs. That number can also increase quite significantly once the Redskins cut some veteran contracts (Barry Cofield? Stephen Bowen?)
3. Bruce Allen's expertise was universally thought to be salary cap management, so continuing along that trend - we need to examine a few issues.
Yes, the Redskins were completely screwed by the NFL and NFLPA for the re-structuring of Albert Haynesworth & DeAngelo Hall's contracts in 2010. I understand why they did it. It made all the sense in the world.
However, if they did not have a legal mechanism to justify their decision to absorb the enormous roster bonuses in an uncapped 2010 season, they should have left it alone until they were assured that their contract shuffling would not result in a penalty down the line.
Allen's impatience with bad contracts he inherited cost the Redskins enormous assets in building a sustainable roster in 2012 and beyond. As many warned, including myself, the cap penalties levied in 2012 would affect many years after. It has.
To be fair, they also dumped some ridiculous contracts that they also inherited and saved a lot of money on the 2011 and beyond cap (Antwaan Randle El, Fred Smoot, etc) and the re-structuring of Hall's contract actually allowed him to be released in early 2013 and re-signed at a very affordable rate for last season. It's complicated, but there were many benefits to the so called "I-4 off-ramp" contract maneuvers that the Redskins did.
It probably was still the right thing to do, but because of the penalties and the long-lasting effects, it would have been better to 'suffer' more in 2011 and even 2012 while getting out of the horrendous deals that Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder made, rather than risk punishment
4. What was/is directly in Allen's control was a lousy contract the Redskins gave to Josh Morgan that worked great for 2012, miserably for 2013 and caused a dead money hit for 2014. The same can be said for London Fletcher's last deal, and that problem was even further driven home by Fletcher's childish antics before the St. Louis game.
Moving to this current year, the Redskins decided to do what the Redskins often do, and it has completely backfired.
There was absolutely no NEED to sign DeSean Jackson while there were MANY other needs on the roster, which everyone knew at the time and has been proved throughout the year.
The Redskins already had Pierre Garcon under a loaded contract and coming off of a 113-catch season, while costing 9.7 million dollars under the 2014 cap. They signed Andre Roberts to a free agent deal to be their # 2 wide receiver and that plan lasted about two weeks, with Roberts costing 2.25 million dollars under the 2014 cap.
When you factor in that Santana Moss had been brought back to a dirt cheap veteran contract, and you had Leonard Hankerson coming back at some point, along with Aldrick Robinson and the draft (they selected Ryan Grant) - there was no need to try and up the ante on a position of depth and heavy investment before Jackson arrived.
When they added Jackson for a relatively modest 2014 cap figure, the structure of the deal made some sense. Jackson cost 4.25 million this year under the cap, but when you combine the top three receivers cap charges, you get 16.2 million dollars under a 132 million dollar adjusted cap figure.
Overall, in 2014, the Redskins allocated 15.0 % of their adjusted cap figure to the wide receiver position or 19,811,960 for the entire group, according to figures obtained by ESPN 980.
It should be pointed out that only the Miami Dolphins (who have never been accused of making smart free agent signings) have a higher percentage of their cap allocation to the wide receiver position at 19.1%, or an obscene 28,850,534 figure.
Sure, Jackson has been the only exciting offensive weapon for the Redskins this year, but overall he has not helped enough. Yes, it is a quarterback issue first and foremost, but that's the point, the Redskins thought they were good enough at quarterback if they added an extra explosive weapon. They thought wrong.
The real problem, as if this year isn't bad enough, is 2015. Jackson's cap charge more than doubles that of 2014 to a whopping 9.25 million. Garcon's cap charge remains the same as it was this year, another 9.7 million. Andre Roberts jumps up to 3.75 million which totals 22.7 million dollars of cap charges.
22.7 million on a roughly 140 million dollar cap. That's before you consider the football application of that one move, which was that Garcon has been effectively reduced to a nice player instead of the # 1 receiver you brought him here to be and paid him to be. He was a number one, but he isn't anymore. Andre Roberts went from a # 2 (very important to him) to a # 3 and return specialist. He's made some plays, but he hasn't made anywhere near enough, for a lot of reasons.
5. Not to beat a dead horse (but I will), the Redskins in an offense-driven league, decided to join the fray instead of trying to counter the trend. You know like the Seahawks did.
The Redskins are currently at 8.3% of their cap allocation in 2014 for their defensive backs. Earlier this year, they were at 8.8% but because of injuries and roster changes, they have lowered that figure.
Again, 15% on wide receivers and 8.3% on all defensive backs. Just a friendly reminder, that includes safeties and cornerbacks and a group of at least nine players and usually ten.
Washington is currently spending 8.3% of their cap on their entire secondary, which is the same figure that the league (32 teams) on average is spending just on cornerbacks. You can't win in a heavy passing league like that, especially when you lose DeAngelo Hall and Tracy Porter for most of the season. Washington also lost Brandon Meriweather and others for smaller portions of the year.
When you have young players that aren't making a lot of money, you have to live with some of the huge growing pains (coverage busts, personal fouls, communication) that comes with it. Wait, I know ...It's all Jim Haslett's fault.
6. Bruce Allen and the Redskins chose to pay Brian Orakpo 11.45 million as their franchise player, which obviously was a high risk decision. Ideally, the Redskins did not want to go there and there was much internal debate.
Orakpo was never healthy all year, dislocating a finger on one hand in Houston and another finger (different hand) in Philadelphia, before spraining his ankle and finally tearing his pectoral tendon in the Tennessee game. A complete death blow for a power rusher.
I can't criticize the Redskins for this, because I advocated for it and still believe it was the right decision for many reasons. Redskins fans will argue that they would have been better off without Orakpo and that they should have kept Rob Jackson. No offense, (I like Rob as a person) but that's complete hogwash. Jackson is still out of the league since the Redskins cut him.
7. Allen and the Redskins also chose to invest in Jason Hatcher who at 31 years old (when they made the decision) has not been healthy all year. Multiple injuries have limited his effectiveness and it is fair to be very concerned about Hatcher's future moving forward.
8. The Robert Griffin III deal: If you believe many members of the organization and former coaches, the Griffin III was forced on Team Shanahan by Bruce Allen and/or Dan Snyder.
It doesn't matter if it was Allen or Snyder or even both, because it is beyond reasonable to think that Allen directly carries out many of Snyder's wishes and desires.
The Redskins paid an enormous bounty for a player who was going to take years to fully develop as a pocket passing quarterback. Clearly, he was an exciting talent, but anybody who actually watched tape, knew that Griffin had a long way to go from the pocket and a huge risk for injury based on the amount of heavy shots he was taking inside the pocket. Never mind, when running around and scrambling.
Here was a tip: You didn't even have to watch tape. Watch one game. I tried to point this out many times, much to the chagrin of everyone, and nobody wanted to hear it.
I don't close any books ever on a player at the age of 24 but the deal was a bad risk then and it is an enormous albatross still.
Because of the trade for Griffin III and Donovan McNabb/Jamaal Brown deals, the Redskins have only made 42 selections in the draft since 2010 while most teams are at either 47 or 48. If you don't think that makes a difference, you should stop reading this....like now. They have made or lost seven selections on quarterbacks in that period and for right now, have very little to show for it.
9. The structure of the front office is not a good one. Allen, who has never been a General Manager with full personnel control, decided to anoint himself as the grand puba of the organization.
A.J. Smith is a Senior Executive and certainly has a crucial role but he is not at Redskins Park 365 days a year, which is a problem in my eyes, because talent evaluators always want to see in person what they can then verify or chart back on tape.
Doug Williams, was brought home and chosen to be a Personnel Executive. He certainly has a voice, but how much of one is the question. Nobody knows for sure.
Eric Schaffer is an incredibly hard working, smart executive who has done a masterful job over the years of making terrible free agent signings and decisions all fit nicely under a hard cap. Yes, he has some input in personnel but his strength is the cap side. While I can't agree with every decision, he has done yeomen's work considering the nonsense he's had to deal with.
Scott Campbell, the Redskins Director of Player Personnel and a good football man, is on the road for four months out of the year (during most of the NFL season) evaluating in person the top 150 players in the upcoming draft. There's no way humanly possible that Campbell can supervise or oversee Alex Santos in his role as a first year Pro Personnel Director.
Santos, has been with the organization for a long time and certainly is skilled and hard working, but there is a huge difference when you are in charge of every division and every team, as opposed to working on a more focused group.
Richard Mann II, a pro scout, has been with the team since 2010 and would likely be next in line for a promotion.
The Redskins lost Morocco Brown to the Cleveland Browns and another good young pro scout, Matt Holland, who went with him. Sure they replaced them body count wise, but not with experience and savvy. At least in any reasonable person's opinion. People inside the building know this. I'm not sure why the Redskins have no answer in this area.
The Redskins scouting staff and front office, according to many, has always been overlooked and underappreciated. They also have not been given enough resources and bodies to do this enormously critical job.
It's not on them in my eyes. It's on the people that make the decisions on the structure. It has killed the organization.
10. Bruce Allen has spent an enormous amount of time on doing what a President of the Washington Redskins should be doing. He's dealt with business and legal matters, such as the name controversy, the salary cap fiasco and has re-connected the fan base and organization with its glorious past. He also has shielded Dan Snyder from a lot of things.
Many people (including people inside the building) feel that you cannot (and I totally agree) be the General Manager of a football organization that needs a lot of help and structure, and do what Allen does best.
There's nobody that I've ever talked with that felt or certainly now feels that this is a good thing for the Redskins. The results are the proof.
Now let's look at the good things the Redskins have done under Bruce Allen's leadership.
1. The Redskins have upgraded their daily facility (Redskins Park) by leaps and bounds. They've expanded their weight room and built a high-end kitchen, along with a new hydro-therapy pool.
Clearly, these were much needed upgrades to the existing building and while it is hard to determine if it was Mike Shanahan or Allen that was the driving force, either way, it got done and helps the Redskins lure potential free agents on the fence.
2. Under Allen's leadership, the Redskins built a brand new indoor practice facility for probably ten percent of the cost that permanent indoor facilities would typically cost.
No, it is not as good as what the Ravens or other teams have because it is not permanent, but trust me, it is more than suitable and perfectly fine.
The only somewhat shocking thing was that the Redskins actually existed on a daily basis without this type of facility. How nobody realized this or fought for this before, is mind numbing.
3. FedExField has also been upgraded with massive video boards, ribbon boards, sections of the upper deck knocked out and general improvements under Allen's watch.
Again, this was all needed but Allen was able to convince Snyder to do this and execute the plan. Senior Vice President Lon Rosenberg executed most of these plans and has done a masterful job upgrading the facilities.
4. The Redskins managed to get those improvements completed on Redskins Park as part of an overall package to build a brand new training camp facility in Richmond, and doing what Mike Shanahan desired (camp away from Ashburn).
The Redskins had leverage and the Commonwealth of Virginia was desperate to give the Redskins what they wanted. The organization also has already begun to examine locations for a new state-of-the-art football stadium and perhaps daily complex. They have a unique advantage in that they will pin Virginia against Maryland and throw in the District for good measure.
It should be pointed out that not everything about Richmond has been successful. Clearly, the team's record has been terrible but also the side business trucks and hospitality stands outside of the facility have had enormous issues.
5. During Bruce Allen's tenure, and this might be his most significant contribution, the Redskins have absolutely stopped the perception (reality) that Washington D.C. was the place to get paid. It was well known throughout the league and in agents circles, that if you wanted leverage or to get fat and happy, you did business with the Redskins. No more.
6. Under Allen's leadership, the Redskins have become younger almost everywhere on the roster. He inherited a veteran laden roster, and across the board, the depth chart is younger with the exception of defensive line where age is a concern overall.
7. While the Redskins have had an alarming amount of suspensions for performance enhancing substances, Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden have managed to avoid any major criminal offenses with any of their players. You know like murder (Aaron Hernandez), child abuse (Adrian Peterson) or domestic violence (Ray Rice).
8. Since Allen has arrived, the Redskins have drafted a few cornerstone pieces of the puzzle like Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Williams and to a lesser degree, Alfred Morris, Bashaud Breeland, Keenan Robinson and others.
9. Allen, realizing that the Redskins were in desperate need for more qualified personnel voices sold A.J. Smith on a reduced role as a "Senior Executive" and brought home Doug Williams to add to the personnel department. I am all for adding more qualified eyes and cross checkers because something has been terribly wrong.
10. By all accounts, the Washington Redskins are still very profitable and lucrative despite all of the on-field failure.
When Allen inherited the reigns to the Redskins, the "operating income" was 103.7 million
, before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Per Forbes, the Redskins estimated and reported value was 1.6 billion.
So there you have it. Ten very good things for the Redskins that Bruce Allen has brought to the table and ten not so good things Allen has done under his leadership.
Now it is up for you to decide. Are the Washington Redskins in better or worse condition than when Bruce Allen inherited the keys to the franchise?
As always, your thoughts are very much welcome at SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com.
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980