- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2017

Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi and Redskins President Bruce Allen worked together for five years in Oakland, but that didn’t stop Lombardi from being blunt about the Redskins’ contract situation with quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

On The Ringer’s “GM Street” podcast Friday, Lombardi said Washington “thought they could bluff their way into” a long-term deal with Cousins. 

Bruce thinks sometimes he’s smarter than the agents,” Lombardi said. “And the agents called his bluff every time. And they never really bought into Kirk Cousins that he was ever going to do it and they thought they were being cute. And now, all of a sudden, their cuteness is going to cost them a lot of money.

“They’re dealing with an agency, Priority Sports … they’re not going to take a deal for less and I don’t think Kirk Cousins is going to take a deal for less,” he said. 

Lombardi, who is a football analyst for The Ringer and was the general manager of the Cleveland Browns from 2012-14, said the Redskins backed themselves into a corner. 

The Redskins have until July 15 to reach a contract extension with Cousins or he’ll play next season on the franchise tag worth nearly $24 million. 

“It has nothing to do with [coach] Jay Gruden or [former GM) Scot McCloughan. They just never thought he was going to come through,” Lombardi said. “Now it’s going to cost them severe cash.”

Lombardi and Allen worked together under Raiders owner Al Davis from 1998-2003. Allen, who had been in Oakland since 1995, left the Raiders to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 as their GM. 

Lombardi also downplayed the Redskins’ recent move of promoting Doug Williams to senior vice president of player personnel, calling it window dressing. 

“Even when Scot McCloughan was there, the Redskins general manager was Bruce Allen,” he said. “Scot McCloughan had the title, but he didn’t have the authority. There’s two people making decisions in Washington — it’s [owner] Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen.”

Lombardi noted how Allen has managed to stay with the organization despite Snyder firing coach Mike Shanahan in 2013. Allen has been with the Redskins since 2009. 

“Mike Shanahan has won Super Bowls. Bruce has never won a Super Bowl,” Lombardi said. “Mike Shanahan is a legitimate NFL head coach. The owner kept Bruce over him because the owner knows what Bruce will bring him.”

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