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Something Doesn't Add Up...

March 17, 2017
So much has been said and yet so much still could be said about the Redskins decision to move on from Scot McCloughan last week.

Stories continue to come out and probably will for a while. Who knows if McCloughan will publicly be able to tell his side of the story because of a potential lawsuit OR perhaps a confidentiality agreement that resulted in him getting paid, despite being fired with cause.

The one thing you should always understand: There’s at least three sides to every story. Such is the case with McCloughan’s tenure in Washington.

There are also many different reasons for his firing. Not ONE. Certainly not just TWO. And sorry to disappoint, not just THREE reasons.

The list is ever-growing as more and more people dig.

Albert Breer of the MMQB came up with a column detailing some situations that had never quite been told, including one of Su’a Cravens perhaps being soft and Bashaud Breeland being caught up in building politics and traffic.

Breer then mentions that the Redskins tried to extend Kirk Cousins “at the close of training camp in 2015.” Specifically, Breer says it was McCloughan who wanted to try and extend Cousins and he met resistance from the executive branch and because the organization was concerned about how Robert Griffin III would handle the news.

Here’s a problem: Whatever McCloughan’s reported idea was would have come  with a strange timeline in place.

Robert Griffin started the first two preseason games of that year on August 13 th and August 20 th, and ultimately took his last snap as a Redskins quarterback in that game on August 20 th against Detroit.

He was savagely beaten down to a pulp and yet another fiasco ensued over the next week or so, before he was ultimately removed as the starter before the August 29 th third preseason game in Baltimore.

Cousins started that game and on the final day of August, Jay Gruden announced that Cousins would be the starting quarterback “for 2015 moving forward.”

I’m guessing that Breer did not mean the end of training camp which ended after the Detroit game and before it was revealed that Cousins would be the starter. It was even before another Redskins PR fiasco involving doctors that cleared and then did not clear Griffin in a truly bizarre way, even for the Redskins.

I suppose he meant at the end of the preseason and the timeline is a matter of semantics, but what isn’t is this: The now former general manager did not think very highly of Cousins earlier in that particular training camp.

I know this for a fact and others have been told the same thing. Opinions change and viewpoints change but it’s hard for me to fathom that McCloughan went from a harsh view of Cousins a week or so into August to wanting to do a multi-year contract extension in the matter of a few short weeks.

This was reportedly after McCloughan was the driving force behind getting Griffin benched and Cousins being named the starter over a five-hour prove it session, presumably during the week between the Detroit game and the Baltimore game. A span of nine days.

This may have happened, but never forget this: Griffin was the forced starter by upper level management and if McCloughan had to reportedly convince the executive branch that Griffin should not be starting and that Cousins should, did he really ever have control?

If he had full control over the roster and personnel decisions (as the Redskins laughably promised he did in his introductory press conference) and he wanted to get a contract extension done for Kirk Cousins at the end of training camp, why wasn’t he able to put a serious offer on the table? There may have been an official offer, but nobody has been able to find out for sure if one ever truly existed.

If he wanted to get a contract extension done and he had full control over the roster and personnel – why would he have to worry about Griffin’s feelings? Just because “some felt the team would still need him at some point?”

If McCloughan was in charge and he wanted to extend Cousins, he was obviously willing to try and do that even though the organization had recklessly picked up Griffin’s fifth-year option for 2016, a year later, at a price tag of 16 + million dollars, after naming him the starter just a month or so earlier. With McCloughan allegedly completely in charge.

So what do we have here? A cuppa haters: Sorry that’s a WWE reference. Anyway, what we have is a general manager that supposedly had all of the power over the 53 and the roster but could not bench Griffin without begging the executive branch to do so.

What we also reportedly have a general manager that wanted to do a contract extension but was not “given the “given the green light” until that December (2015) per Breer to make the offer.

Something does not add up here! Or am I wrong? Maybe I am.

Also, if the extension was really a serious thing in August of 2015, Griffin was still on the books for about five million dollars of cap space on his rookie deal, Cousins would have presumably counted for at least a few million dollars and Colt McCoy was still under contract as well.

The Redskins could have handled the financial obligation but would have been facing an even-more awkward financial situation on the books for 2016.

Cousins would have cost his bounty in 2016 (year two of a multi-year deal or at least offer in the Redskins accounting mind) and Griffin would have theoretically been on the books for the $16 million that he cost, plus McCoy.

So the Redskins were either going to go with the world’s most expensive backup quarterback in 2016 ($16+ million) plus Cousins salary or they would simply cut Griffin after 2015 and before 2016 like they did.

But again, even though it worked out like a charm, what would have happened if Griffin got hurt and couldn’t pass a physical in March 2016 in order for the Redskins to get out of that contract?

Could you imagine that mess?

At least by not extending Cousins in 2015, and apparently not getting the green light until December of that year to begin talks, the Redskins weren’t going to be under any theoretically obscene obligations for 2016 until one essentially cancelled out most of the other in March 2016.

That was when the Redskins knew they made it to the finish line with Griffin and could chop his $16 million off the table in exchange for Cousins’ nearly $20 million.

Something  is odd about this. This of course, was after McCloughan basically won the job because A.J. Smith was denied the opportunity to be the general manager because of his very vocal protest of Griffin.

What that means is this: McCloughan had to tell Dan Snyder and presumably Bruce Allen that he fully believed in Griffin not only to get the job, but to name him the starter in February 2016 and then to give him the fifth-year option in late April, 2016.

Only to stand on a table for five hours in late August to convince Snyder and Allen that Griffin couldn’t be the starting quarterback, despite Griffin starting the first two preseason games and getting all of the number one team reps throughout the entire off-season and preseason?

This was after it was discovered by other reporters and myself that McCloughan did not have a favorable opinion of Cousins a week or so into that training camp.

After all of that – he wanted to do a contract extension for Cousins?? Really? That’s weird.

He had no problem getting extensions for Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams pushed through, assuming those were his decisions. All of a sudden – he had an issue getting permission for Cousins? After the Redskins did everything they could to not have an open competition and needlessly picking up Griffin’s contract?

It doesn't appear that those weren’t his decisions. Which brings us back to the overall problem for McCloughan and just about anybody who comes to work for the Redskins. They never have complete control, power and decision making authority, no matter what is said. That's fine if that's how it is going to be but everybody should just realize that pretty much every account of everything that happens at 21300 Redskin Park Drive is shrouded in mystery and cannnot be trusted in any way, despite what Larry Michael said. 

And based on what my sources are telling, it was about this time (August 2015) in his 26-month tenure that McCloughan lost almost every ounce of power that he had, if he truly had any.

Don’t forget about that pesky accusation made by his wife towards an ESPN reporter during this exact timeframe. It made her look awful and the general manager look like things were out of control and that he was leaking information. It also made an organization that doesn’t need any help looking horrible, to look even worse than normal.

Something just doesn’t add up, right? 

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