navigation-background arrow-down-circle Reply Icon Show More Heart Delete Icon wiki-circle wiki-square wiki arrow-up-circle add-circle add-square add arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up calendar-circle chat-bubble-2 chat-bubble check-circle check close contact-us credit-card drag menu email embed facebook-circle facebook-square facebook faq-circle faq film gear google-circle google-square google history home instagram-circle instagram-square instagram linkedin-circle linkedin-square linkedin load monitor Video Player Play Icon person pinterest-circle pinterest-square pinterest play readlist remove-circle remove-square remove search share sign-out star trailer trash twitter-circle twitter-square twitter youtube-circle youtube-square youtube

RG III Released & How His Prescence Led to McCloughan

March 11, 2017
Robert Griffin III was officially released by the Cleveland Browns on Friday and where he winds up next is unknown.

He’s been connected with the New York Jets, a team he visited with last year and a team in search of help at the position. 

Cleveland could have already been the last stop on the NFL carousel and if that’s the case – my best guess is he winds up in a broadcast booth somewhere, on some cable network, because he’s still a popular face and name.

The fall from NFL grace is still astonishing and hard to grasp for many, but not if you ask and talk to NFL people.

We all know what happened here in Washington and while we don’t know exactly what happened in Cleveland, it doesn’t speak well to Griffin’s future that a coach like Hue Jackson gave up on him relatively quickly, despite having no legitimate answer at quarterback.

Griffin’s NFL career is rudderless at this point, but he’ll always be connected to the Redskins and with all the turmoil and dysfunction that his former team has been caught up in, it’s astonishing to see how both the Redskins and Griffin are two ships seemingly lost at sea.

Now you have to hope that if the Redskins were to trade Kirk Cousins – Dan Snyder would not be tempted to do something insane by adding Griffin back to the fold.

Jay Gruden could not work with Griffin and that was very early in the process, as we explained here.

Former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan reportedly backed up the head coach in August of 2015 and Gruden finally won the battle, after all of the bad blood and dirty water.

The reason why you still have to fear this as a possibility (albeit very small) is because of Snyder’s affection for Griffin.

This was despite being repeatedly told that Griffin could not play at this level. By Mike Shanahan, by Kyle Shanahan, by Jay Gruden, by other coaches and NFL personnel evaluators.

It cost the Redskins both Mike and Kyle Shanahan, two first-round draft picks and a high second-round pick and it may have led to the Scot McCloughan hire and ultimate disaster.

Wait? What? It’s true, from what has been told on multiple occasions and by multiple sources.

Bruce Allen, the Redskins President, wanted former Chargers general manager and at that point, Senior Personnel Executive A.J. Smith to essentially run the show along with him and Jay Gruden. He didn't want to really take on McCloughan, who came with a troubled past and a brilliant scouting eye. 

Smith, joined the Redskins in 2013 after things went south with the Chargers. He’s very tight with Allen and his son is currently on the Redskins college scouting staff.

The main reason why Smith did not become the general manager before McCloughan was hired? Sources say that Dan Snyder was enraged at Smith’s evaluation and constant hard-line stance on Griffin.

Image result for AJ Smith

Smith did not believe in Griffin at all. In any way, per these sources. In 2014, after Colt McCoy joined the Redskins, Smith graded Griffin III as the Redskins third-best quarterback on the roster and told Dan Snyder that Griffin could not play the position.

Clearly, Mike Shanahan and others had the same evaluation of Griffin during the 2013 season and that’s what led to their departure at the end of that miserable year.

Snyder, from what DCHotRead has learned, was informed by Smith, that Griffin was not a franchise quarterback and that the Redskins would never even come close to winning a Super Bowl with Griffin.

Smith told Snyder and other high-ranking officials in the Redskins front office, according to the sources, that Griffin would likely play for three or maybe more teams, six or seven years at best,  in his NFL career while ultimately becoming a bust.

Snyder did not want to listen. He did not want to believe and he fired both Shanahan’s and most coaches associated with the former Redskins head coach.

He did not fire Smith in his role, because of Bruce Allen’s trust in Smith, but he was reportedly furious over the evaluation, which essentially backed up the evaluations of the Shanahan clan.

Smith stayed on during the 2014 season with Allen as the general manager and Gruden in his first year as head coach. The season was an unmitigated disaster and when it became clear that the organization needed more help in evaluating talent on a full-time, every day, in the building basis – the obvious person to turn to was Smith.

It was in his blood. He was fierce and to some degree, stubborn to a fault.

The problem was that Snyder was reportedly so angry that Smith’s evaluation backed up what the Shanahan’s and others believed, that there was no chance Smith would become the “savior” at the general manager position.

Remember, the hostile press conference at the end of the 2014 season, the same day the Redskins fired Jim Haslett? I asked Allen that day about about Smith possibly becoming the team’s new GM and Allen explained that “A.J. is a consultant. He lives in Del Mar, California.” Allen further explained that he and Smith’s relationship went way back and when he was let go from San Diego “I said, ‘If you have a few weeks a year and you want to come out, please do. Give us some insight to it.’

Allen went further explaining that they utilized Smith’s experience and wisdom while also saying that they were going to look at ‘every option’ and that Smith was going to provide a report with “suggestions, ideas and thoughts” on how to improve the franchise.

When I followed up on that – trying to get at the hunch and feeling that I had at that time – I asked Allen if Smith had to be at Redskins Park in order to do the job. He amusingly answered that with technology that existed “if you’re in Hawaii, you can watch the game tape as quickly as I can watch it here at Redskins Park,” Allen quipped. “And, because we have telephones in Hawaii, we can have a conversation immediately after the game.”

He finished up his answer by saying he was going to make sure “when we go into next season (2015)…we have the right people in the right places.”

Nine days later, Scot McCloughan was hired. A personnel genius with obviously a very risky past. Why?

Sources say that it was because Dan Snyder would never allow Smith to be the general manager because of his evaluation and opposition of Griffin.

You may remember that soon after McCloughan's hiring, the Redskins (for some reason) named Griffin the starter for 2015 in mid-February. That was in part to counter a Mike Shanahan tell-all and because McCloughan was on board with the emporor at the time. Or he wasn't given a choice. 

Then the Redskins gave Griffin the fifth-year contract option that everybody knew was completely nuts. It wasn't until McCloughan actually got to see Griffin on the field over a period of a few months that he was able to back up those that saw and knew the obvious. 

Back to Smith - he  was offered a role to stay in the organization, after McCloughan’s hiring, and the sides exchanged proposals. Smith submitted an extremely high price and Snyder would not meet it or come even close, per sources. It wasn't because his friend Allen chose McCloughan over Smith. 

Smith retired full-time from the NFL a few weeks later, with essentially a middle finger salute to Snyder.

Sources around the NFL described Smith as somebody who would tell you the truth, whether you liked it or not and whether you wanted to hear it or not. Apparently, Snyder did not want to hear it.

Even with all of this, Smith’s name is being discussed internally at Redskins Park by management to return as an advisor during this period of complete unrest.

Mike Mayock was listed as a potential candidate by ESPN Friday, but the more realistic scenario, sources say, is Doug Williams being elevated after the draft to the general manager position.  

It might be a strange way on the surface to tie things together between Robert Griffin III's release for the second time in two years and the Redskins firing of Scot McCloughan on Thursday, but in the NFL, a lot of situations and people are connected, whether they want to be or not.

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for six seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for the last five. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Network (,, & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN