Lots of Washington fans and media members saw Sunday night as a nationally televised embarrassment for the Redskins. Cris Collinsworth seemed to disagree.
The NBC Sunday Night Football analyst praised Washington repeatedly during the broadcast, and predicted a 2014 division title. First, he explained all the mitigating factors this season.
“I don’t know how you get a salary cap violation in an uncapped year; somebody’s still gonna have to explain that to me,” he said. “But you’re talking about they won the NFC East for the first time in 14 years. You talked about the salary cap. RGIII coming off the knee injury. No offseason work. They’re currently the No. 1 ranked rushing team, the seventh-ranked offense, on pace for the most yards. This is a team going in the right direction. I hope that — whatever, if they want to change the course – but I think they’re going to win the division next year if they stay the course.”
Collinsworth, of course, has taken a similar position several times in recent weeks, including Friday afternoon on ESPN 980. This happened in a conversation with Al Galdi, Chris Cooley and Steve Czaban.
“If you were gonna ask me what I think is best for the organization, I think what’s best for the organization is to convince Robert that Mike Shanahan can take him to the next level,” Collinsworth said. “I mean, this offense has been No. 1, No. 1, No. 1, No. 1, No. 1, No. 1, through eternity. So we know that it works. And then you put somebody with his physical skills into it? When I saw that they had made this trade, I go oh my God, this is going to be fantastic, this is going to be the greatest offense that we’ve ever seen.
“Unfortunately, the unforeseen came into play,” Collinsworth continued. “And that was the salary-cap hit. Anybody who could have foreseen $36 million being taken off of this team, after that trade, after giving up the draft picks — so now not only you’re not gonna have the draft picks, you’re not gonna have the money to go spend on free agency. Thirty-six million. You’re talking about at least the best six players on your team being taken off of it. You go to any NFL team out here and take $36 million off of it, this late in the year, when attrition starts to really kick in, I want you to find me one of those teams that’s gonna be anywhere close to above 3-8….”
“In the NFL, [games] ALL come down to the wire,” Collinsworth later said. “All of ‘em. And it’s the essence of the league, and the way it was set up, and the reason the salary cap’s in place. If every team in the league got an extra $36 million to spend, how do you think the 32nd team — that didn’t get it — would do. Would they win very many games? Of course not….I thought what was really the tough part about it was WHEN the announcement was made, on the eve of free agency. Would they have made the trade for RGIII and given up all the draft picks if they had known they were gonna take the $36 million hit? And my guess is no….
“They didn’t know, when they made the RGIII trade and gave up all the draft picks,” Collinsworth concluded. “And now you can’t go get the free agents to try to make the rest of the team — you’re dead. The fact they made the playoffs last year, to me, was much more of a miracle than the fact that they’ve won three games this year.”