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Need to Know: Who will really hold the power in free agency for the Redskins?

Feb 12, 2015, 5:21 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 12, six days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

Even though Scot McCloughan got all of the authority that a GM traditionally gets when Bruce Allen hired him and yielded that title last month, he needs the help of others to get things done. Any GM in the league is in the same situation.

Salary cap and contracts are not part of McCloughan’s areas of expertise and he will rely on Allen and cap guru Eric Schaffer to take care of contracts. For rookies, that’s easy; you basically just fill in the name, the numbers are set by the draft slot. But when it comes to free agents, it gets more complex.

From what we know, a free agent acquisition has to start with McCloughan wanting the player to come to the Redskins. He has final say on the 53-man roster so nobody is added to it without his OK. So he brings his list to Allen and Schaffer to take care of the money part of it.

Here is where the matter of trust and the crux of your question comes in. They need to have a discussion about what they think the player is worth and come to a consensus as to how high they will go to get that player. That is more Allen’s and Schaffer’s area of expertise than McCloughan’s so he is going to have to trust the cap guys’ estimates and evaluations.

Could Allen torpedo the process by overstating what a player might fetch on the market? Could he not negotiate in good faith if he really doesn’t like a player that McCloughan wants to bring on board? The answer to both is yes. But the NFL is a small world and word would get back to McCloughan, potentially poisoning the well at Redskins Park. We’ve seen it before but Allen is too savvy to do something like that.

The bottom line is that McCloughan has the final say. If Allen says I can get you Player X for Y dollars, McCloughan has the authority to tell Allen to pull the trigger or pass on the player. But if things work out the way they should, they all should be on the same page and in agreement on the decision.

Let me make one more point here. Fans roll their eyes when they hear about GM’s or coaches hiring guys that they know. But trust is a big thing whether we’re talking about matters like this or decisions made on the coaching level. It’s much easier to get to work and get up to speed when there is a pre-established relationship there. That’s one reason why these hires often work out the way that they do.


—It’s been 46 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 215 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 26; Redskins offseason workouts start 67; 2015 NFL Draft 78

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. James Bridges - Feb 12, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    That is a good question, and as long as that player stays healthy and plays up to his potential it really doesn’t matter to me.

  2. deepball1 - Feb 12, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    every year we hear the talk but never see the walk. Haslett was unshackled and so the Defense was going to be diifferent. Turned out it was the same. Orakpo was going to show us. Turned out he didn’t because he couldn’t. Talk talk talk.

    Here comes Scott M riding into town and he is going to change everything. Now we are going to just draft players instead of signing 30 year old ex Dallas Cowboy players to huge Cap Hit contracts. The truth is it remains TALK until it happens. I want to see Scott stick to the plan of focusing on the draft before I will believe it.

    And I STILL have not heard anybody sober in the organization use the word REBUILD and yet that is what needs to go on for about TWO years. The cupboard is bare and there is only one draft per year. Seattle and San Francisco did not get built in only 1 year. St. Louis has been stockpiling draft picks….thanks to the Skins….for 3-4 years now they finally have a competitive team. It took Dallas drafting offensive line over a 4 year period in order to become competitive.

    So I don’t see the Redskins winning 5 games this year but I will be encouraged about the future if Scott M handles the draft well and does not sign any 29-32 year old free agents to long term contracts that will still be affecting us in future years like we are being affected now by Cofield, Bowen, and HATCHER who are all injury prone 30 plus year old players and have a combined Dead Cap hit of over 12 MILLION dollars even if we cut them today. This was Bruce Allen’s doing so he needs to stay the Hell out of Cap Management. and needs to stick to Pants and Picnics decision making.

    • O - Feb 12, 2015 at 8:54 AM


    • bangkokben - Feb 12, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      You are NEVER going to hear any top level person in the organization say the word REBUILD. That is not how to fill a stadium. You may hear someone say, “We are going to build this team the right way.” But you’ll never hear re-build. So reach back there and get your panties all untwisted.

      Seattle won the division at 7-9 in year one. Nobody thought San Francisco underachieved until Harbargh got there and suddenly the team was loaded with talent and underachieving under Singletary. Nobody got anything out of Alex Smith until the maniac from Michigan got there. St. Louis? 6-10 is competitive?! I’m sure you’ll be saying the same thing about the Redskins when they finish 6-10 this year. Dallas? F Dallas!! If they can put together back to back playoff appearance then we can start looking at them as a model because the way I see it they are one injured quarterback away from the bottom of the division.

      Bottom line: this team is not an expansion team and therefore winning can occur simultaneously with building a winning organization.

    • 214hof - Feb 12, 2015 at 10:15 AM

      The contract Hatch signed was pretty much a two year deal, Washington can cut him next year if he underwhelms. Bowen will most likely be gone before the season starts to the tune of 4 mill savings… As for Cofield jury is still out on him… I don’t kno that Washington is willing to pay him starter money to be a rotation guy at DE/NT, and that is what he is at this point a rotation body… When Washington signed him to big money he was a 26 year-old super bowl winner on a D-line that was ruthless. I think he fell a bit short of expectation, but definitely not anything like the f/a busts of the VC days…

    • shermanp79 - Feb 12, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      I believe Scot, he has proven success. With Haslet it as a way to keep his job, it was all talk. He has never been an aggressive type of DC. We know Gruden wanted him, so they fed us some BS and threw Shanahan under the bus. All you have to do is look at Scot’s record, he has done it multiple places. With Haslet he has barely been an average DC. It is two different situations. Allen may have been slow to change but with failure once again he had no choice. Look at all the assistants brought in, all quality guys with experience to help both Gruden and Barry. It appears Snyder really is fed up with losing and they now really are doing everything to bring us a winning organization. They still need to prove it over the long haul but short term this organization is heading in the right direction. They still need to give Scot help and need multiple good off seasons to get us to SEA level. I like Gruden, he is brutally honest and knows what he wants. He seems to be demanding change in preparation from everyone. He now needs to hold everyone accountable. Last year it showed he has learning to do, the RG3 situation was forced on him. He basically had to start him week 1 when he knew he couldn’t get it done. That won’t happen next year. So changes are being made. He knew this team needed more talent. He showed his frustration. We heard how players keep making the same mistakes. I think some was coaching but new coaches have been brought in, now we need the players. I have no doubt 2 years from now this team will be much better than last year.

  3. shermanp79 - Feb 12, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    We don’t need those type of games going on here. I don’t see that happening. Allen is very good at working the cap and he will work with Scot to figure out how to make the money work. Chances are you will be talking about a couple million dollars. With all the “funny money” and restructures it won’t be hard to figure a solution. I doubt Snyder allows such type of a back stabbing war between the two, they are professionals. Although with some of the crazy things going on the past couple of years, you can never say never..

  4. murphsman - Feb 12, 2015 at 3:31 PM

    I didn’t know we had a cap guru. Is that his official title?

  5. hokietaa - Feb 12, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    This is kind of a silly discussion. Bruce hired SM because he knew he was a good personnel guy…reports made it sound like they had been talking for quite a while. Now that he got the guy he wanted he is going to sabotage him?…ridiculous. Archives

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