- - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When Kirk Cousins goes out the door and signs as a free agent with another team — a seemingly forgone conclusion — the Redskins‘ Prince of Darkness should be kicked out right behind him.

I know it is easy and fashionable to call for Bruce Allen’s firing, but I’m talking about one unforgivable crime against the franchise that would certainly justify the move.

In fact, to use a tactic that the team president himself is familiar with: Allen, like Scot McCloughan, could be fired “with cause.”

That means the Redskins wouldn’t have to pay Allen the millions of dollars he is likely owed that he needs to pay for his West Coast mansion.

Forget all the other misdemeanor crimes — the insults like “winning off the field” and other embarrassments — Allen’s handling of Cousins tenure here is a felony foul up.

What other franchise could take a quarterback who, in his time here in Washington, has completed 1,372 out of 2,096 passes — a 65.5 percent completion rate — for 16,206 yards, 99 touchdown and 55 interceptions and make him so radioactive for its own fanbase that people can’t wait to see him leave?

You typically see teams try to get their fans to embrace their starting quarterback. The Redskins, by refusing to sign Cousins to a long-term contract and instead using the franchise tag for two straight seasons, made every game a referendum on the starting quarterback, to the point now where fans are simply sick of hearing his name and can’t wait for him to leave.

Or haven’t you noticed the Baker Mayfield bus parked outside Redskins Park?

Several mock drafts have the Redskins taking the Heisman Trophy winner with the 13th pick in the draft, and if you missed that, Washington put that information out themselves on its own social media network.

If the Redskins could get away with selling Baker Mayfield jerseys now, they would.

There was some concern that Mayfield may be particular about where he plays in the NFL after a tweet referring to being drafted by Miami. But he let everyone know there was no reason to worry. “Everybody can relax,” he tweeted. “I will play anywhere that gives me a chance. I’m not picky. I will go anywhere and strive to uplift a franchise and win ballgames.”

Oh, RG3 2.0, please uplift us.

You have a sense that if fans could have Cousins under center or Mayfield next season, they would choose the unproven rookie — the clean slate, as yet untouched by the damage of the aura of self destruction that engulfs Redskins Park.

Think about that for a minute. Here you have an established, respected NFL quarterback who threw for 4,093 yards, his third-straight 4,000 yard season, and 27 touchdowns with an offense that had less formidable weapons than Mayfield did at Oklahoma, and a segment of the fanbase would rather say goodbye to Cousins and hello to Mayfield.

Do you realize how warped that is?

Do you realize how hard it is for a football team to actually turn its quarterback — a quarterback with those numbers, a quarterback who is a likeable figure with no headaches off the field — into someone whose presence is so painful for its fans that they would rather see an unproven rookie?

Do you realize how hard it is to turn your own commodity — a player under your control for six years — into something so untouchable that even if the team wanted to pay him now, it would be foolish to do so. To franchise tag Cousins a third time next season for $34 million would be ridiculous.

The Prince of Darkness has priced his own quarterback out of the team’s reach.

There might have been a time when Cousins was willing to sign a long-term contract, but I’m not sure when.

Allen, whose job it is to manage owner Dan Snyder as well as the franchise, allowed such a toxic atmosphere to exist under Robert Griffin III that by the time he became damaged goods, Cousins was soured on any future with the Washington Redskins. That’s on Allen, too.

Their one chance might have been when McCloughan wanted to sign Cousins when he was an affordable commodity early in 2015 — something Allen refused to pursue. Remember, it was reportedly McCloughan — not Allen — who had to convince Snyder that Cousins, not Griffin, should be the starter that season.

There has been much made of McCloughan’s remarks to a Denver radio station recently that “he doesn’t see special” when he sees Cousins. It is important to point out that “special” for McCloughan is Brett Favre during his days in Green Bay and Russell Wilson in Seattle.

Look at the Redskins list of quarterbacks for the past 30 years. See any Brett Favres? See any Russell Wilsons?

See any special?

Baker Mayfield, though, that guy is special – for now.

Wait until Bruce Allen gets his hands on him.

Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.

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