General manager Scot MacCloughan is out at the Washington Redskins after two seasons and a 17-14-1 record and one division championship. Trouble had been brewing for weeks at Redskins Park, highlighted by MacCloughan’s absence at the 2017 Combine in Indianapolis. Things obviously recently came to a head, with the team canning the three-time GM for cause instead of a buyout of the remainder of his contract.
There were two competing narratives from anonymous sources about MacCloughan’s fall from grace. The team’s narrative, in spite of a curt boilerplate public statement that said nothing, is that MacCloughan continued to have drinking problems during his eighteen-month tenure, significantly reducing his effectiveness and even including embarrassing public displays of drunkenness at team events. The competing narrative was that MacCloughan clashed with both team president Bruce Allen and coach Jay Gruden and that the move was a power play. Allegedly, MacCloughan battled with Allen over personnel decisions and with Gruden over hands-on involvement with players.
Allen was hired in 2009 after predecessor Vinny Cerrato resigned under pressure after a number of disastrous player and coach decisions. Allen was lauded as a mature addition to the organization, with solid experience with Tampa Bay and Oakland. Although stability did return to the organization under Allen’s tutelage, his personnel decisions proved to provide little improvement. This situation continued for several years until Allen gave into pressure from owner Dan Snyder to bring on a top-tier talent evaluator. Snyder’s pick was former 49ers GM and Seahawks player personnel executive Scott MacCLoughan.
The hiring of MacCloughan was universally applauded. After all this was the team that the NFL Network ranked as number one in the Top 10 Worst Free Agent Signings ever, with the Washington Redskins taking the top spot with not just one signing, but “anyone signing with the Redskins” (actually, five players, including Bruce Smith, Albert Haynesworth, and Deion Sanders) of the last fifteen years. Only the Oakland Raiders had more players in the top ten, with two players at number three in the rankings. And for the most part, MacCloughan delivered. According to ESPN, thirteen of MacCloughan’s seventeen picks picks are still on the team, with three being projected 2017 starters. Only four of MacCloughan’s dozen or so free agent signings panned out, although none of those released resulted in a significant financial impact on the team.
It remains to be seen whether the Redskins decide to promote one of the current player scouts to position of GM, hire an outsider (seemingly unlikely at this juncture), or let Allen run things again for another off season. The firing couldn’t have come at a worse time for a team that is looking to add those pieces necessary to move the team from playoff contender to Super Bowl contender.