However, team President Bruce Allen and owner Daniel Snyder decided to make the move now, rather than wait until the next offseason to evaluate Gruden’s situation. The deal was first reported by ESPN’s John Keim.
Since buying the Redskins in 1999, Snyder has employed eight head coaches — Norv Turner, Terry Robiskie (an interim in 2000), Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn, Mike Shanahan and Gruden. However, Gruden — who just led the team to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1996-97 — is the first to earn an extension.
As of Sunday morning, the Redskins had yet to make an official announcement. However, multiple people within the organization had received word of the new deal and expressed joy for Gruden, whom they believed had certainly had earned the extension. The men, who spoke on condition of anonymity since the team hadn’t announced the move yet, also expressed an increased feeling of comfort in the direction of the team.
Meanwhile, the move drew praise among the league’s coaching and player representative ranks. Multiple coaches and agents said they were happy for Gruden, although they didn’t want to be quoted on the matter.
However, Minnesota Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer, a long-time friend of Gruden’s and former coworker during their time in Cincinnati had no problem commenting on the matter.
“Jay’s a heck of a football coach, and I’m happy for him. He’s deserved it. He’s got the franchise going in the right direction,” Zimmer said Sunday morning. “He’s innovative, number one. Smart guy, handles players very well, relates to them. He’s real smart.”
Former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly, now an NFL Network analyst, also called it a good move.
“It shows stability to [Kirk] Cousins and other free agents,” Casserly said. “And questions about Gruden’s job security can’t be used against them in free agency.”
The Redskins have had somewhat of a tumultuous week and offseason as a whole following reports of friction between Allen and General Manager Scot McCloughan, who didn’t attend the NFL Scouting Combine because the team said he was dealing with family matters.
NFL player agents had worried about the health of the franchise, and some expressed concern this week about wanting to have their players sign with Washington in light of the latest signs of dysfunction.
Washington also has come under criticism for failing to sign quarterback Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal, and having to use the franchise tag to retain his services for a second straight year. But team officials still hope to sign Cousins to a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline, and signing Gruden to an extension could help sell Cousins on improving stability within the organization.