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Dysfunction Report: McCloughan wanted to extend Cousins in 2015, Player relationships caused tension

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More stories about the friction in the Redskins front office that led to Scot McCloughan’s dismissal

Wild Card Round - Green Bay Packers v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

You might have read the latest chapter in the Redskins/Scot McCloughan drama that was released by Albert Breer of MMQB last night. Breer talks about three “flash points” that led to tension between Scot McCloughan and the Redskins front office, Bruce Allen in particular. The biggest one is on that has been reported on before, McCloughan’s intent to sign Kirk Cousins early, rather than pay more later. The Washington Post reported he would have done this in 2016, but Breer claims McCloughan wanted the deal done early in his first year as the Redskins starter in 2015

At the close of training camp in 2015, McCloughan wanted to try to extend Cousins, but there was concern over how that would go over with Griffin, because some felt the team would still need him at some point. (Whether a fair figure could have been reached with Cousins is open for debate, considering the quarterback’s inconsistent résumé and lack of success at that point.) Finally, that December, McCloughan was given the green light. By then, Cousins’ camp wanted to wait until after the year.

After Cousins’ hot finish, the Skins knew they’d have to franchise Cousins at around $20 million, which framed negotiations in a place where the team wasn’t willing to go. Talks on a long-term deal got off to a rough start, and then control shifted from McCloughan to team negotiator Eric Schaffer. By the time 2016 was winding down, the GM had been removed completely from decision-making on Cousins.

This was a big risk for McCloughan, and everyone else involved with the team, but in the rearview would have saved the team money, and secured their QB for the future. There were obvious reasons to second guess Cousins at that point in his career, but it was clear to McCloughan, Gruden, and others that Robert Griffin III wasn’t the future in Washington. Breer also mentions the uncertainty over Cousins even up to this year with possibilities of a trade, and Colt McCoy or a free agent like Mike Glennon as a possibility to compete for the starting job.

Breer also has some anonymous quotes from players to counter the anonymous quotes that came out about McCloughan’s dismissal due to alcohol related issues.

“What’s pissing me off is how everything is Scot’s fault,” said one veteran player. “This is not Scot’s fault. Everyone here appreciates Scot. … Let’s be honest, the issues are there, but he’s never gotten in front of the team drunk or anything like that. Whoever is saying that needs to stop.”

“If that was there, he did a good job of hiding it,” said another player. “There was never a discussion about that, at least that I saw.”

His other “flash points” involve incidents with two players last year, safety Bashaud Breeland’s outburst and LB Su’a Cravens slow return from injury.

On Cravens injury:

By then, teammates, some of whom had seen him playing ping-pong at the facility, were openly wondering why he wasn’t pushing through the injury. After he missed two games, the team wanted him to get the arm drained in an effort to play in Week 17. Cravens responded by not showing up to the facility for treatment that day, at which point McCloughan decided to call Cravens.

That didn’t go over well with Allen. Some veterans felt McCloughan was simply trying to uphold the culture that he and Gruden had worked to build, which is seen as a “Seattle” thing (McCloughan worked for the Seahawks from 2011-13): If you see something, say something.

On Bashaud Breeland outburst:

At another point in December, the third-year corner—who’d been seen internally as moody following the Josh Norman signing—blew an assignment, and was called by a coach on it. He argued. The coach argued back. Then Breeland blew another assignment, took his helmet off and sat on a cooler on the sideline. From the perspective of the coaching staff, these sorts of squabbles with players were not uncommon.

But after practice, in the locker room, McCloughan saw Breeland coming out of the shower and bluntly told the third-year corner to come to his office after he was dressed. Word of the confrontation got around, and it led to another squabble in the front office over boundaries.

Breeland responded to the article today on twitter: