WASHINGTON — In 1971, iconic coach George Allen took over the Washington Redskins, stocking his coaching staff and roster with former Los Angeles Rams. Forty-six years later, boy wonder Sean McVay could do the same thing in the reverse.
McVay was the Redskins offensive coordinator until yesterday when he was named coach of the fledgling Rams. In many ways, he matches the team he coaches: young (only one player on the current roster is older than him), developing, and full of potential.
But one way to both accelerate and ensure that success would be to bring in key players who already understand the system that he wants to run, and to bring in the right offensive minds to coach it.
This puts the Redskins squarely in the cross-hairs, and will almost certainly adversely affect them at the negotiating table. Here is a short list of who to worry about:
The Redskins have laid the groundwork to play hardball with Cousins this offseason, with Mike Florio telling 106.7 The Fan that general manager Scot McCloughan is unwilling to use the franchise tag again. If the team used the tag, it would cost an estimated $23.9 million for 2017, but if it doesn’t, they have to be willing to lose him to free agency.
Even if they tag him, an offer sheet from another team and two first round picks would be enough to pry him loose. L.A. may not be the team to do it, but with his former coordinator taking over the reins in L.A., Cousins’ leverage just increased.
The Los Angeles native and Cal graduate has played his entire professional career on the East Coast but maintains strong ties to his California home. The only time he was a free agent, in 2014, there was not yet a team in his hometown. As of Thursday, there are now two that call L.A. home.
Redskins pundits have long predicted that Jackson might leave in the offseason, opening up the offense for youngsters like Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Ryan Grant and Maurice Harris. This move would potentially open up the salary cap to address holes on defense, but Jackson has to land somewhere. Is it better if he goes home to California than if he returns to Philadelphia?
If the rumor mill is right, the Redskins and Rams could essentially swap free agent receivers this offseason. Kenny Britt was linked to the Redskins last week, and McVay could be interested in bringing in Garcon to complement Tavon Austin. Either way, Garcon’s options have gotten better.
While the Redskins work to find the next answer at offensive coordinator, they have to play defense against McVay and the Rams. McVay worked closely with Bill Callahan, Matt Cavanaugh and Wes Phillips, making them top compelling candidates to bolt for a promotion in L.A.
Phillips is a name to keep an eye on. He was hired to replace McVay when he was promoted to offensive coordinator inn 2014. He comes from a long line of NFL coaches, and his father was twice passed over as defensive coordinator in Washington under Gruden.
Now that Wade Phillips has joined McVay’s coaching staff in L.A., the younger Phillips could be a candidate to join him if the Redskins let him go.
Already, one former Redskins assistant has been linked to McVay:
Teams have the right to deny interviews to assistants and coordinator, but it makes it harder to attract top coaching assistants if they can’t interview for a promotion. If the Redskins plan to fill the offensive coordinator position internally, they may way to move quickly.