Bruce Allen is the
president of the Washington Redskins
. Much like the current leader of the United States of America, he is far from loved by many.
He’s served as Dan Snyder’s top lieutenant since late December 17, 2009 when he replaced Vinny Cerrato as an executive vice president.
In that span, Allen’s Redskins are (50 – 77- 1), a .390 winning percentage in 128 regular season games. The Redskins are also (0-2) in the playoffs under Allen’s leadership, losing both at FedExField.
He’s about to complete his eighth full season in charge of the Redskins, taking over with three games left in the miserable 2009 season.
No debate should ever be needed. It’s a results based industry, Allen should have been fired a long time ago. In an industry and organization, in which politics and dollars made are often much more important than wins, Allen still has a very prominent role.
He shouldn’t but he does.
If the Redskins somehow lose their next three games to equally poor teams (Arizona, Denver, New York Giants) like themselves, they will finish (5-11) and
Allen’s record as the all-powerful dictator would be
an effective (50 – 80 – 1).
That should be the only data you need. We all know it doesn’t work that way and almost surely will not happen in time to save the Redskins organization from further ruin, but that's how it should work.
Here’s the bottom-line. Allen has represented the Redskins in a putrid manner.
He was brought to Washington to restore the glory and tradition of a once-proud franchise. Instead, he’s made the burgundy and gold more of a joke.
Sure, they’ve won two division titles in those eight years, the only time they’ve made the playoffs in the Allen era but if making the playoffs 25% of the time and getting bounced right away in the playoffs is what the overall goal is, Allen is a master at his craft.
Don’t get me wrong: Allen has some good things in his eight-plus years in charge of the Redskins.
Since Allen took over, the Redskins organizational value, per Forbes.com, has jumped from
$1.55 billion to $3.1 billion as of September 2017
The Redskins are still the
fourth highest NFL team in terms of value in the NFL
, behind only the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and the New York Giants.
The Cowboys have a relatively new football palace and the brightest brand in sports. The Patriots win championships on top of championships. The Giants have won a few championships in the last decade and have a newer stadium.
The Redskins have next to nothing. They haven’t won a damn thing. Their stadium reminds many, if not everyone, of a massive head cold and new digs aren’t even close.
Allen relocated the
Redskins training camp to a facility in Richmond
that hardly anybody wants to go to, but they did get a sweetheart deal from the commonwealth of Virginia. A deal that the city of Richmond is aching to get out from underneath.
Under Allen’s leadership, and
because of the Richmond deal
, the Redskins received millions and millions of dollars in funding for a re-modeled Redskins Park. They also built a temporary indoor facility because building a legitimate structure would have cost a lot more money and the Redskins don’t plan on staying at Redskins Park longer than they must.
FedExField has seen dramatic remodeling over the years. The Redskins knew how bad the stadium was and they’ve done some improvements to make it tolerable. HD video boards, food choices and more places to drink beer are among the top improvements. All were designed to get you to keep coming to the concrete jungle in Landover so that you’ll keep giving the Redskins a boatload of your hard-earned money.
They weren’t designed for you to enjoy and enhance your experience as much as it was designed to keep you somewhat content with an aging facility and a mostly terrible product.
Allen hired Jay Gruden
extended his contract.
I think Jay is a reasonably good head coach, considering everything that he must deal with. Could he be better? Of course. Is he great? Hell no. Does he have a lot to work with? No. Gruden’s record as head coach is (26 – 34 – 1), a .434 winning percentage.
Allen also hired Scot McCloughan after a humiliating 2014 season and a press conference that made the organization look worse than they already were at that point. The Redskins won a division title with nine wins and then won eight games in 2016, before
McCloughan was fired in March.
McCloughan did plenty wrong
and based on what I’ve been told by multiple sources, the firing was completely justified. However, Allen fired a saint in the eyes of his fans and customers for whatever ultimate reason he had.
Allen has also changed the way the Redskins did business in free agency. They stopped spreading money around on high-priced free agents like it was an uncontrollable disease. Don’t get me wrong. They
made plenty of mistakes under the cap, including the re-structuring of Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall’s contracts
, as unfair as the penalty was as a result.
Because the Redskins were overly frugal, they were able to “manage” the cap penalty years and they’ve only restructured contracts to reflect pay-cuts instead of the old, traditional NFL business model of guaranteeing more money now and paying for it down the line.
Allen has restored many relationships with many alumni and the team regularly honors these former players at one home game per year and many regularly visit Redskins Park.
I’m out of good things that Allen has done. Essentially, my list means he averages one good move for almost every year of employment.
The problem with all of this? Most of the good things that Allen has done has been beneficial to the Redskins bringing in more revenue or saving money. Not because it was the right thing to do or the thing that made the most sense.
Allen was also supposed to clean up the stench that he inherited. Instead he’s only made it worse. Allen was supposed to improve the image of Dan Snyder. Instead, all he’s managed to do is make himself the piñata many angry fans choose to attack.
Allen and the Redskins gambled on Donovan McNabb and sacrificed a high 2
round pick and a top-100 pick in another draft, that was tied into another deal for an aging Jamaal Brown. Both deals were a complete disaster.
Just to double down on the bad McNabb trade, the Redskins (under Allen’s leadership) gave McNabb a contract extension with the hopes of covering up his benching halfway through his first year. They announced this hours before a home Monday Night Football game and then they were served up on a platter as part of the infamous “Monday Night Massacre.”
McNabb was benched for good a few games later and was gone soon after that.
The Robert Griffin III trade was an enormous financial boost to the organization and helped them win a 2012 NFC East Title. However, as I said constantly back then on ESPN-980 and fought with thousands on, the trade was short-sighted and an enormous gamble.
I was told I was an idiot. That was probably kind. I was right. Bruce and the boys were wrong. The Redskins are still paying for that trade. It doesn’t matter if the picks have largely not worked out for the Rams. Those picks may have provided valuable depth and talent for the Redskins and when combined with the bad deals for McNabb and Brown along with previous bad decisions made in the pre-Bruce Allen era (Jeremy Jarmon, Fred Davis, Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas) – it was a death blow for the life blood of the franchise.
Mike Shanahan reportedly had final say over football operations, but nobody has full control of everything at Redskins Park. Shanahan had a good amount of say. He didn't have full control. Pressure and politics are an enormous dynamic at 21300 Redskin Park Drive.
When Shanahan was released, Allen took over and began re-shaping the roster again which led to a short-term disaster on the field but bared fruit with some draft picks. The Redskins organization was able to draft valuable pieces like Morgan Moses, Bashaud Breeland, Spencer Long and others. However, they were (4-12) in Jay Gruden's first year but more importantly were a complete disaster as an organization.
Then, the McCloughan era took shape (after an embarassing press conference) and the Redskins rebounded in 2015 when finally, Allen and Dan Snyder were convinced that the Griffin era was dead.
The move to Kirk Cousins was a rare breakaway where the football people won over the power people.
The move worked better than anybody could have imagined and then Allen completely screwed up the Cousins negotiation to a point where two plus years later, the situation is widely viewed a complete joke by many in the NFL industry.
You don’t need the details to know how badly the Redskins screwed this situation up from start to finish and A to Z. You already know that. That is an indisputable fact. The Redskins wound up paying (for now) $ 44 million in fully guaranteed funds for two years of Cousins instead of paying between $35-40 million in fully guaranteed dollars for five years of stability at quarterback.
Now, they are faced with either starting over and having very little to show for their financial investment OR they can pay another $ 34+million dollars to continue this ridiculous charade again.
Very smart, Bruce. Very smart. The worst part? This isn’t revisionist history. As you may recall, I was a proponent of the transition tag which would have locked Cousins in on a four or five-year deal at a more expensive price than the Redskins wanted to pay but at a fair market-value rate for the quarterback position, even with a short period of proven performance.
Instead the Redskins insulted Cousins, gambled and lost badly. They didn’t win enough on the field, they lost badly off the field and now they are in a lose-lose-lose situation.
For a team that stresses “Winning off the Field’ – they have done plenty of losing in that regard too.
Win or lose on the field the rest of the way, Bruce Allen doesn’t deserve the opportunity to keep driving the car off the road.
Once is enough, six times is plenty. I’m done and the Redskins should be as well.
Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (www.DCHotRead.com). Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN