Reviewing Scot McCloughan’s First Moves
The Washington Redskins have made several decisions since the season ended. None of which were more important than when the franchise hired Scot McCloughan to be the general manager of the team and have final say on all roster moves. It’s a move that gives the Redskins a man who knows his job and does it well. He will need those skills as the job ahead of him is not going to be easy.
McCloughan’s first moves as the new GM of the Redskins were made along the defensive line, which shouldn’t surprise anyone as Washington had one of the older and least effective d-line’s in the league in 2014. McCloughan brought in Ricky Jean-Francois and then released nose tackle Barry Cofield and end Stephen Bowen, saving the team $9.7 million in cap space.
Cofield reportedly has an injury issue and failed a physical examination which is what led to his release. Before hearing about the lingering injury issue, I was surprised the Redskins let Cofield go as it appeared he may be in the mix at end moving forward. Makes sense now knowing Cofield was still carrying the injury concerns. One thing is for sure, Cofield was set to make a very sizable amount of money in 2015, and after weighing their options, the team decided it was time to split ways.
Bowen had lost his pass-rushing burst off the edge that he once had. His knee issues caused him to miss time the last three years and even when he was healthy last season, he only played in nine games. Bowen took a pay cut last season to make his cap-hit less painful, but the truth is it was time for the Redskins to move on from Bowen as well. He’ll be 32 when the season starts and is in no way productive enough to garner the contract he was owed heading into 2015.
Ricky Jean-Francois is a former McCloughan draft pick taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL draft. Jean-Francois was second in the NFL in batted balls in 2014 behind only Haloti Ngata. The Redskins were able to sign Jean-Francois to a three-year deal worth $9 million, with $4 million guaranteed.
Scot McCloughan made three good decisions to start his tenure in Washington. In order for the franchise to get back to the glory days they have chased for so many years, McCloughan will need to consistently make plenty more.
Good news is Redskins fans won’t have to wait long to see McCloughan’s next moves as free agency opens up soon. Saturday at midnight teams can start legally talking to agents (NOT PLAYERS) about contracts for free agents from other teams. Players will not be allowed to talk to the teams, and no contracts can be signed until the new league year begins at 4 p.m on March 10th.
It’s unclear just how much noise McCloughan will make in free agency, the Redskins have several needs and will likely look to address at least a few of those needs during the free agent period. McCloughan appears to want to do things the right way and build through the draft. Which is a smart approach, but the Redskins needs at certain positions will force him to bend a little.
With the reported rise in the NFL salary cap in 2015, the Redskins will have $25 million to spend this spring on possible upgrades. After the conclusion of free-agency, the draft picture for the Redskins will take better shape, at the moment they have pressing needs at safety, offensive/defensive line, outside linebacker, and cornerback.
McCloughan has a plan to turn the franchise around, as long as he keeps the power he has been given (full control of roster decisions) he should have the Washington Redskins back to competing at a high level within three years. Redskins fans may have heard that before in the past 10-15 years, the difference is Scot McCloughan is the best front-office hire in the history of this ownership…hands down.