Yup! Your eyes aren't deceiving you! Instead of the 12 Days of Christmas, we here at Redskins Maven and SI.com are honoring Bruce Allen's ten years of leadership with the Redskins with a countdown to his ten-year anniversary on December 17th.
You've also heard of "Stras-mas" for the Washington Nationals. Welcome to the "10 Days of Bruce-Mas!"
Here's how we're celebrating: Our team of Rick Snider, Bryan Manning, Ivan Lambert and myself along with some help from a secret contributor, ranked the top-ten moments in in the Bruce Allen era as President/General Manager/Executive Vice President of the Washington Redskins.
Only we're not doing it in the nice way. No. This is a list of the ten worst moments and disasters of Bruce's reign. Sorry, in advance. Oh and one more thing: We're extending this baby out over the next week plus, which might catch up to us if Dan Snyder hasn't calmed down yet and pulls the plug.
Remember what Snyder did to the infamous Vinny Cerrato ten years ago at this time?
In April 2012, the Washington Redskins selected Robert Griffin III No. 2 overall in the NFL Draft. On that same weekend, exactly 100 picks later, the Redskins picked another quarterback in Kirk Cousins.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can safely say the trade up to get Griffin was a Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen production, while the selection of Cousins in the fourth round was Mike Shanahan’s choice. Mike knows a thing or two about quarterbacks.
Clearly, Shanahan was right and that led Washington fans on a six-year journey with Cousins that featured more lows than highs thanks to Allen.
Cousins received his first start in Week 15 of his rookie season, passing for 329 yards, two touchdowns and led the Redskins to a critical win at Cleveland to keep Washington’s winning streak alive. Griffin had missed that week due to a knee injury suffered the week before against Baltimore.
Cousins’ second big audition came at the end of the 2013 season. Shanahan, decided to insert Cousins into the starting lineup for the final three weeks of the season for the 3-10 Redskins. Shanahan cited Griffin’s health as the reason for starting Cousins. However, everyone knew this was about much more than Griffin’s health.
Shanahan was fired after the 2013 season and Allen hired Jay Gruden. It didn’t take long for Griffin to get hurt and Cousins again stepped into the lineup. After a strong performance against Jacksonville in Week 2, Cousins would struggle with turnovers and was eventually benched for Colt McCoy. That season ended embarrassingly as the Redskins finished 4-12. But, at least they were winning off the field, right?
Cousins beat out Griffin for the starting job in 2015. It was finally his team. Or was it? Former general manager Scot McCloughan urged Allen to get a below-market deal done with Cousins early that season before he hit free agency. McCloughan, to his credit, knew getting a deal done with Cousins once he hit free agency was next to impossible.
Instead, Allen placed the franchise tag on Cousins and the rest is history. According to McCloughan, he again advised Allen to deal Cousins before the 2016 season as he was uncomfortable with his rising price tag. Again, Allen refused. Instead, Cousins would go on to start all 16 games for the second consecutive season, breaking some of his own records he set the season before.
So, naturally, after the season the Redskins placed an unprecedented second franchise tag on Cousins, guaranteeing him $24 million for the 2017 season. The goal was, according to Allen, come to an agreement that would keep Cousins in Washington for the remainder of his career.
Meanwhile, Kyle Shanahan was just hired as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and badly wanted Cousins. He was willing to part with high draft compensation to get his guy. Instead, the Redskins were reportedly laughing at the media over the mere suggestion they would trade Cousins.
Remember, the 49ers picked No. 2 overall the season and while no one knows if they were willing to give up that choice, a second-rounder and additional picks were most likely in play. Instead, the 49ers would get their guy during the 2017 season when they traded a second-rounder to New England to acquire the services of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Another embarrassing missed opportunity for Allen and the Redskins.
In fairness to Allen, he did make an attempt to keep Cousins, even traveling to Michigan to meet with him just before the deadline to negotiate a new deal before the season approached. Cousins politely declined Allen’s offer, which was a smart move.
The Redskins were offering $53 million in guarantees, but were including the $24 million already promised to Cousins for the 2017 season on the franchise tag. In reality, it was an offer made more for public relations than actually negotiating to keep the twice-franchised Cousins.
An enraged Allen hastily called for a press conference with handpicked media members where he would read a ridiculous statement to explain the team’s stance. Just like everything else, it backfired and, again, Allen looked like the fool.
Cousins played the 2017 under the tag and would depart after that season. All the Redskins received for him was a third-round compensatory pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Allen refused to deal Cousins due to his own foolish pride, yet refused to sign him to a long-term extension for the fear of proving Shanahan right.
Oh, and how about Allen calling Cousins “Kurt” over and over again throughout his time in Washington?
Allen has overseen a number of the most embarrassing moments in franchise history. His handling of Cousins alone was enough reason to relieve him of his duties two years ago.
He’s still here.
Merry Christmas, Bruce!
Bryan Manning has covered the NFL, MLB, NBA, college football and college basketball for almost 10 years for various outlets such as Bleacher Report, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today SMG, and others. Bryan has covered the Washington Redskins for different outlets and currently co-hosts a podcast on the Virginia Tech Hokies for SB Nation. For his day job, Bryan works in engineering for a major communications company.