Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Alex Smith Trade Proves Why The Redskins Are Still a Dysfunctional Franchise

Courtesy of USA Today

26 years ago, the Washington Redskins played in Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome in Minneapolis Minnesota. Redskins easily defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-24 to clinch their third Super Bowl title in franchise history. 

26 years later, the Super Bowl has returned to Minneapolis at US Bank Stadium, which replaced the Metrodome. The Redskins have not returned to the Super Bowl since that day, nor haven't appeared in a NFC Championship game. Based on their recent trade, it appears that more mediocrity and dysfunction is still a realistic possibility going forward and deep playoffs in January is very unlikely.

Last night, the Redskins trade their third round draft pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Kansas City Chiefs for quarterback Alex Smith. Smith was entering his last year of his contract with the Chiefs, so the Redskins extended Alex Smith's contract for five years $111 million with $71 million in guarantee money with injury. Therefore, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins will be a free agent this offseason and he will have plenty of teams to choose and spend his next phase of his NFL career.

While the Redskins saved $6 million with this trade and guarantee some stability at the quarterback position despite the four year age gap between Cousins and Smith, the mess they created will never be forgotten. Sure, they might have save themselves from another crisis by acquiring Smith, but this shouldn't never happen to begin with.

The Redskins could of easily avoided this drama if they just give a long term contract extension to Kirk Cousins. It was understandable to give him the franchise tag in 2016, but doing so again in 2017 was disastrous. The ongoing franchise tag or long term extension talks became too exhausting for the players, coaches, talk radio hosts, beat reporters, and fans. While the saga continue on, Cousins threw an average of 4,392 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the last three seasons. Also, Cousins has let the Redskins to a NFC East title in 2015 and a winning record in 2016. 
In addition, he has broken the franchise record for single season passing yards in 2015 and 2016 despite dealing with an average running game and a bad defense.

Yes, I know there were some games that Cousins did not delivered in big games, but those loses were beyond the quarterback play. Bad coaching and defense/special teams play will make any quarterback look very bad. Football is a team sport, and all three phases of the game needs to play very well to win games consistently. The Redskins never did so, and they lost games in agitating fashion. The losses affected the morale of the fanbase so badly that seats were empty at FedEx Field and lower local TV ratings last December. 

It was clear that Kirk Cousins was a top 10 quarterback in the NFL and the best quarterback the Redskins have had since Brad Johnson in 1999. Yet, team president Bruce Allen still screw it up by using the expensive franchise tag in back to back years and given his history, he will find ways to screw it up with Alex Smith.

The Redskins already mess up by trading their third round pick and starting cornerback Kendall Fuller. Trading Fuller is a terrible decision because it weakens their pass defense that is already a bad unit. Fuller had a great 2017 season and while he's not the next Darrell Green, he was an upcoming and possibility future pro bowler in that position. Also, Allen never told Fuller personally that he was traded. Apparently, Fuller find out his own trade on Twitter. That alone is unprofessional and classless on Allen.

So for folks who I am too negative and pessimistic about the Redskins trade and future,  ask yourself this question. Do you trust Bruce Allen and his front office staff of actually reshaping the roster by improving the running game, defense, and special teams this offseason? Can they acquire the right type of players in the draft and free agency to make a major impact?  Can the coaching staff put the players in the right position to succeed and get the most of them? 

Smith had all of those working in Kansas City and it is no guarantee it will work in Washington.

However, it doesn't really make a difference. We all know how this is going to end. The Redskins management will do what they always do by finding ways to screw it all up. Even if they opted to go draft quarterback in first round or sign a free agent quarterback younger or with less credentials than Smith, the Redskins still wouldn't be able to rebuild this team with quality free agents and draft choices. They almost always draft poorly or pick guys who get hurt frequently or just quit. They never quite know when to negotiate a fair contract with a good player. They messed up the whole Cousins thing badly and overpaid cornerback Josh Norman. So, no matter how much cap money they may have or not have or the amount of talent on the roster, they will still struggle to put together a decent roster of players because the front office is incapable of creating a winning atmosphere. They put politics and ego over winning on the field.

On the bright side, Bruce Allen is a mastermind of "winning off the field!"