- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 12, 2017

The most important talent-evaluating period of the NFL Calendar is upon us, and the Washington Redskins don’t have a general manager.

The Redskins officially fired former general manager Scot McCloughan on Thursday, but McCloughan had been marginalized from his duties for weeks.

In that time, a brain trust led by President Bruce Allen has been making all the team’s personnel decisions. Eventually, though, the Redskins will need to hire a replacement for McCloughan to be the next general manager, and candidate names have started to emerge.

The biggest name that has come up is NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported is under consideration for the job. Mayock, 58, analyzes the draft for NFL Network, and has since 2005.

The Washington Post reported that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is a big fan of Mayock’s, but Mayock took to Twitter to explain that he hasn’t been interviewed for the position and isn’t thinking about anything aside from the draft.

“There has been no official contact between myself and the team and no interviews about the job,” Mayock said. “My focus and energy — as it typically is this time of year — is squarely focused on the NFL draft and NFL Network’s coverage of that event … This year in my hometown of Philly!”

That’s not an unequivocal never-will-I-ever statement, and it could merely mean that Mayock plans to interview after the draft, which is when the Redskins are expected to fill the position anyway.

Allen and Co. have been overseeing personnel matters without an acting GM since before the NFL Scouting Combine, which McCloughan did not attend, and through the beginning of free agency, having made deals with free agents both internal and external since the beginning of the signing period.

Even if the Redskins do want to interview Mayock, who played safety for the Giants in 1982-83 but has never held a front office job, it’s not clear that he would be interested. He has a good, stable job in broadcasting, while Redskins Park lately has featured all the clumsy backstabbing of a performance of Hamlet on Ice.

Back in 2010, Mayock said he was approached by at least three NFL teams about front office jobs, but that, “it wasn’t the right time.” He did say that he was open to working in an NFL front office “if the right opportunity came along.”

He could, however, be yearning to work for a team. It’s possible that Mayock wants a new challenge, and helping run a front office would certainly fit that bill.

From a public relations perspective, he would be a slam-dunk signing. Mayock has great name recognition and a reputation as a smart football mind. That doesn’t mean things would work out — McCloughan arrived in D.C. to great fanfare, too — but it could work in Mayock’s favor.

In light of Mayock’s potential candidacy, his past comments about quarterback Kirk Cousins are more interesting. Mayock likes Cousins and thinks he is well-paired with head coach Jay Gruden.

“I do believe Kirk Cousins is the quarterback of the Redskins for the future and I think a lot of that is philosophically, he aligns perfectly with what Jay Gruden wants to do. So yeah I do believe he’s the guy,” Mayock said ahead of last year’s combine.

Mayock is on the record praising Cousins’ footwork and release time, but he’s been highest on the quarterback’s intangibles.

“From a physical perspective Kirk Cousins does everything pretty well,” Mayock said on his NFL Network show. “I don’t think he has any outstanding traits, however, I think the intangibles are where he’s outstanding. He sees the field, he’s intelligent, he processes information and, most importantly, the ball comes out where it should and when it should.”

The Redskins have considered candidates other than Mayock to replace McCloughan. Mark Dominik, the former Buccaneers GM and current ESPN analyst, also is under consideration according to Schefter. Dominik has experience working for Allen, who was the general manager in Tampa Bay from 2003-2008.

The Redskins also still have several internal candidates who could wind up getting promoted if Snyder chooses to do so from within. The Washington Post reported that director of college scouting Scott Campbell, director of pro personnel Alex Santos and senior personnel executive Doug Williams are all under consideration, with Williams as the frontrunner.

The Post also reported that former Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith is a candidate.

One interesting layer in Washington’s search for a new GM is how it will impact any negotiations with Cousins.

Cousins is reportedly upset over McCloughan’s firing and is threatening to not negotiate a long-term deal while Allen is president, according to CSN’s Chick Hernandez, citing a source close to Cousins. The Redskins, however, haven’t shown a clear desire to give Cousins the kind of contract he seems to want anyway.

If the team hires a GM after the draft and Cousins is still a Redskin at that point, he’d have lost some leverage in negotiations. Once the draft passes, it’s harder for the Redskins to get immediate value from trading him.

• Nora Princiotti can be reached at nprinciotti@washingtontimes.com.

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