Redskins President Bruce Allen is remaining in his role overseeing football operations and will also assume control of the business side of the franchise, the team said Friday.
Allen had moved to a football-only role last year, when team owner Daniel Snyder hired former NFL executive Brian Lafemina to run the Redskins' business operations. Lafemina was fired the day after Christmas just eight months into his job, and Allen has since moved back to his old position, the Redskins said.
“There was never any question about this,” Tony Wyllie, the team’s senior vice president for communications, said Friday when asked about Allen’s status. “Of course he’s coming back.”
Snyder is keeping Allen despite a clamor from many Redskins fans to have Allen removed after nine years as an executive with the team. Several fans have started an online campaign called #FireBruceAllen, flooding the comments section of the team’s social media posts with the hashtag. But several people around the NFL with knowledge of the Redskins' plans say Snyder remains comfortable with Allen in charge, and the owner has now rewarded him with total control over the team’s football and business operations.
Allen, hired late in the 2009 season to be a general manager for soon-to-be-hired Mike Shanahan, took over all operations of the franchise after Shanahan left following the 2013 season. In his time with the Redskins, Allen’s teams have gone to the playoffs two times — both first-round losses — and have posted a 59-84-1 record.
The son of famed Redskins coach George Allen has not recaptured the prestige of his father’s time with the team. His tenure has been filled with controversy, including battles with Shanahan, fiascos surrounding star players such as quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Donovan McNabb and last month’s waiver claim of former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, who had been cut after an arrest on domestic violence charges. Those charges were dropped this month.
Many fans and league officials believe Allen is responsible for the erosion of the team’s once vast and passionate fan base. Despite his 2014 claim that the Redskins were “winning off the field,” the Redskins significantly reduced the size of FedEx Field’s upper deck during his tenure, a reflection of declining ticket sales. The team announced last season that a sellout streak it had said stretched back decades had ended, and it played its home games this past season in a half-filled stadium.
The empty seats and large numbers of fans of visiting teams discouraged several Redskins players, who lashed out at the declines in the fan base.
Some NFL agents who do business with the Redskins had speculated that the team might move Allen away from the football side of the organization and expand the role of Eric Schaffer, the senior vice president of football operations.
Allen continues to play a key role in securing a new stadium for the team, which Snyder would like to see built by 2027, when the franchise’s original agreement to hold its home games at the FedEx Field site expires.
Allen and Snyder had worked late last year with Trump administration officials and Republican lawmakers in Congress to pass a provision that would allow the federal land where RFK Stadium is located in the District to be developed commercially as part of a site for a new Redskins stadium. The attempt died when Congress failed to pass a spending bill in December, and the status of the team’s efforts to find a new stadium location remains up in the air.
Because Allen served as a sort of co-general manager under Shanahan and then oversaw the personnel side of the team when Shanahan was replaced as head coach by Jay Gruden in 2014, he has been blamed for much of the Redskins’ on-field failures. Among those are the 2010 trade for McNabb, who was signed to a five-year, $78 million extension before being released at season’s end, and the 2012 trade of three first-round draft picks for the second pick in the draft and the selection of Griffin, whose tumultuous run with the team ended three seasons later. Allen is also blamed for mismanaging negotiations with quarterback Kirk Cousins, who became a free agent after the 2017 season and signed with Minnesota.
His trade of a 2018 third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for quarterback Alex Smith last offseason proved unfortunate, given Smith’s horrific leg injury in November that has put the passer’s playing future in jeopardy less than a season into a contract that guarantees him $55 million.
Among Allen’s many controversies is his 2015 hiring of general manager Scot McCloughan, a proven talent evaluator who openly battled alcohol problems. McCloughan improved the Redskins' roster, filling the team with players who won the NFC East in 2015, but was fired two years later.
As attendance dwindled over the past couple of years, many fans pointed to Allen as a key reason for their declining interest in the team. Many saw the team’s lack of depth and flimsiness at skill positions as Allen’s fault.
He also was criticized for the Cousins fiasco, in which the Redskins were unable to sign the quarterback to a long-term deal, saddling him with the franchise tag for two straight seasons until doing so a third time proved financially impossible.
The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast was the first to report that Allen remains in charge of the football operations.
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