There’s a “total mess” in Washington, and it’s got nothing to do with the president, Congress, or the political establishment. Another of the city’s institutions slid back into its natural state of perpetual dysfunction.
Dan Snyder’s Washington NFL team is once again plagued with infighting. This time it’s the result of a power struggle between general manager Scott McCloughan and a faction made up of team president Bruce Allen and head coach Jay Gruden. It finally came to a head Thursday evening when the team fired McCloughan.
(This Washington Post background story about the situation with McCloughan is really worth your time to read the whole thing.)
At the heart of it was the usual issues that teams with no real leadership at the top struggle with. They were squabbling over roster decisions and turf wars.
The ugliest incident in the whole thing and one that gives it that distinct Snyder-ian odor happened when former Washington tight end Chris Cooley speculated on a team-owned radio station that McCloughan had been banished from the public eye because he was drinking again. Nobody from the team defended the general manager, and Cooley was never reprimanded.
Constant turmoil in the front office is how bad teams stay bad. The sad thing for Washington fans is that the team had been on a promising trajectory with two straight winning seasons.
They’ll have a harder time staying on that path now. Victories are short-lived in turf wars. Inevitably the faction that wins starts to factionalize itself. Which is exactly what will happen when Washington struggles again, another inevitability.
And, of course, there’s a connection between Washington’s infighting and Kirk Cousins. McCloughan made no secret of his belief that the team should’ve signed Cousins to a long-term deal last year instead of using the franchise tag twice. According to the Washington Post, Allen didn’t like that and started telling anyone around the league who would listen that McCloughan was responsible for leaking to the media all the various details of the Cousins saga.
If you’ve been following the Cousins-Washington rumors, you should probably take some aspirin. I suspect your neck is sore from all the furious back and forth.
Washington placed the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins for this season, a move that was supposedly meant to squash the idea that the team would trade him this year.
A day later we got that wild report of a potential three-way deal with the 49ers and Cowboys. Then, that got shot down.
On Wednesday, March 8, Mike Silver of the NFL Network reported that Cousins will eventually land in San Francisco for a reunion with Kyle Shanahan. However, he made it clear that it might not happen until 2018 when Cousins is a free agent again.
But wait! Maybe we won’t have to wait until 2018. ANOTHER report said that Cousins has made it clear that “he does not want to be there ... He wants to get to San Francisco and play for Kyle Shanahan."
Cousins definitely wants out, and according to ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, he asked Snyder for a trade. He was told “not to get his hopes up.”
So are they going to trade Cousins or not? Well, one potential holdup to a deal is that Dan Snyder has a grudge against Kyle Shanahan and won’t make a deal because of that.
There’s a more practical reason why a trade won’t happen this year, anyway. Why would San Francisco give up a boatload of draft picks when it could just wait a year and get Cousins for a boatload of cash instead?
On the flip side of that, it might be better for Washington to try to make the move now while it can get something in return for Cousins rather than just let him walk. But that wouldn’t be the Dan Snyder way.
So now what happens? Well, if Cousins hates playing there as much as it seems, he can call their bluff, not sign the franchise tender and hold out. It could mean that he doesn’t get to play at all this year, but it just might be enough to force their hand.
Cousins won’t do that, though. He’s expected to sign the tag soon:
#Redskins QB Kirk Cousins will sign his franchise tag soon, source said. He’s a good soldier, knows he’s likely not going anywhere.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2017
At any rate, we’re right back to whole reason Washington’s NFL team sucks in the first place.
What will ultimately happen? Who knows! One thing we can definitely count on, though, is Washington being a bad team again.