INDIANAPOLIS -- Redskins team president Bruce Allen spoke with Breaking Burgundy at the NFL Combine Thursday on the two subjects that have dominated headlines back in the D.C. area: General Manager Scot McCloughan and quarterback Kirk Cousins.
* McCloughan is not at the league's primary talent evaluation event while attending to "family matters," a team spokesman confirmed with Breaking Burgundy Wednesday. Allen reiterated that angle at the Combine inside the Indiana Convention Center.
"He's taking care of his family matters first. After that, he'll be at work again," Allen said of McCloughan, who was hired by Washington in January of 2015.
The speculation over why the team's lead talent evaluator wasn't a major talent evaluation event turned into a relentless story across the local and national media landscape this week though McCloughan told multiple outlets there was a death in the family. 106.7 The Fan reported Wednesday McCloughan was sent away by the team on Feb. 20.
Allen would not offer any additional timeline specifics, but his response as to when McCloughan was last with the team appears to push back against the idea of a lengthy absence.
"I'm not going to get into all the personal stuff," Allen stated. "Scot is more than a worker with us. he's a friend. He's been working hard. We were having our college meetings before this.
McCloughan hasn't been made available since the season ended on New Year's Day. He hasn't held a formal news conference in months. He was previously released by San Francisco and Seattle because of concerns with alcoholism. Recent reports have suggested a power struggle within the front office. All of that plus the lack of a formal statement from the team contributed to the rampant speculation and reporting.
From a football perspective, the Redskins are set to meet with and evaluate numerous prospects ahead of the April draft without McCloughan. That would seemingly be problematic, though other league sources in Indianapolis didn't necessarily view McCloughan's absence, while unusual, as detrimental.
"Everyone has a job to do here, Allen sad. "They're all going to do their job and then we'll get together during the draft meetings and re-rate the board."
* This week the Redskins slapped the franchise tag on Cousins for a second straight season, ensuring the quarterback will receive $23.94 million for 2017. Ideally, Washington wants to come with a salary cap friendly long-term deal that would also stabilize the NFL's most important position beyond the upcoming season.
Hope is one thing. Execution is another. The Redskins came up short in negotiations last year.
"We're hoping for a long-term deal with him," Allen said. That's what we're going to work towards. Last year we tried. We didn't get that done. This year we'll get it done."
The Redskins have until July 15 to ink a long-term deal with Cousins or he plays 2017 on the franchise tag. That scenario virtually assures Cousins will enter free agency in 2018 and sign elsewhere. If Washington plays out the contract like a classic procrastinator, other complications crop up. The Redskins won't know how much their quarterback will count for on their financial ledger, a true handicap as they pursue other free agents.
If they wait and realize a long-term deal won't happen, then perhaps a trade is the best option. However, the two best windows -- start of free agency (March 7) and the NFL Draft (April 27-29) -- will be over.
Asked about if the team had an internal deadline, Allen noted Cousins would be prepared "whether it's a 12-year or a 1-year contract," before concluding, "The sooner the better."
Keeping Cousins on the one-year deal screams awkward. Getting a deal done -- something both sides must desire -- would help solidify their plans.