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Is Washington Redskins' Vinny Cerrato a Watered-down Matt Millen? (Comparison Chart)

I recently came across a Washington Post article from 2005, where Mike Wise spoke with Vinny Cerrato about his worst decisions and lessons learned:

"Biggest regret? Probably in 2000, signing all those older guys," Cerrato said. "I learned you can't put a lot of signing bonuses on veteran players cause they're not going to play out those years. That was a mistake I made and learned from. Bruce Smith, Deion and Mark Carrier were the big ones...Now, we try to avoid dead money, money that counts against your cap and doesn't go to anybody."

(The Redskins are among NFL leaders with $16 million of their 2005 salary cap devoted to players no longer on the roster).

This is pure comedy. Fast forward four years to today and the Redskins are almost exactly at $16 million in dead cap money (Brandon Lloyd leading the charge at $5mil+). In my opinion, Cerrato correctly fixed the problem with signing veterans past their prime, but we certainly have not fixed the problem of building through the draft. It's the blue-print every Super Bowl team has, yet the Redskins front office chooses to go the George Steinbrenner route. Assuming Washington doesn't lose a draft pick for the Haynesworth tampering, the Redskins will have all their 2010 draft picks (minus the 6th round pick due to the Jason Taylor acquisition). Not bad! Let's just pray the Skins stay healthy so the trigger happy front office doesn't unload them for more free agents.

Even today, the distaste for Cerrato in DC is quite high, so that got me thinking (it is known to happen), how many similarities does Cerrato have with Matt Millen, arguably the worst GM of all time? Here's my findings:

Matt Millen

Vinny Cerrato

loves to draft WRs in the first 2 rounds1
has drafted only bust QBs2
passed on Demarcus Ware & Shawn Merriman in the 2005 draft3
had/has a website lobbying to getting that person fired
supported by the owner but none of the fans
under .459 total win percentage in tenure
less than 1 year as an ESPN analyst
given extension/promotion despite not making the playoffs
has a Super Bowl ring with the Redskins
fired by potential future Hall of Fame coach4
demoted draft day decision-making by Hall of Fame coach5
had a losing record in his collegiate playing career
has cool, Chuck Norris-esque mustache
1 Calvin Johnson, Mike Williams, Roy Williams, Charles Rogers <---> Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, Fred Davis, Taylor Jacobs
2 Joey Harrington, Drew Stanton <---> Patrick Ramsey, Todd Husak, Sage Rosenfels, Jordan Palmer
3 Joe Gibbs was running the show this year so Cerrato cannot take all, if any, of the blame. We'll dole this one out to the Skins as a whole (although Cerrato did take some credit for the Sean Taylor pick, which I thought was all Gregg Williams).
4 Marty Schottenheimer
5 Joe Gibbs


I couldn't find much on Cerrato's times at Notre Dame when they won the championship, though Dan Steinberg uncovered a gem, which led the NCAA to add a rule named, the "Vinny Cerrato Rule."

Cerrato's resume included a stint as chief recruiter for Lou Holtz at Notre Dame, where he'd gained notoriety for impressing prospective recruits by standing on the Notre Dame sideline during televised games feeding them play calls in advance via cell phone--a tactic the NCAA later banned with a special "Vinny Cerrato rule."

I guess when it comes to tampering, the Redskins' front office know how to safely tip-toe around the boundaries!! 

"They were all watching the game," Cerrato said. "I knew they would be. So I called their houses all over the country, and I said: 'This is Vinny Cerrato from Notre Dame. I'm on the sidelines at the Orange Bowl. You watching?' And then I'd tell them what the next play was going to be."