I'm sorry, Daniel Snyder.
I owe the boy-king of the Washington Redskins a huge apology. Like many of you, I did not expect Snyder to make an intelligent football move this winter.
He surprised me with two.
Snyder finagled the removal of Vinny Cerrato as executive vice president of football operations.
Then, he signed Bruce Allen as Redskins Executive Vice President and General Manager.
I'm more impressed by the Allen hire than by the push to get rid of Cerrato.
The Redskins and the media are already making too much of Allen's family connection to the Redskins. Allen is the son of former Redskin and Hall Of Fame coach George Allen and former Virginia governor and U.S. Senator George Allen.
Don't be impressed by that. It's fluff.
The point is that Bruce Allen can manage a salary cap and run a team. That's not just my opinion. J. I. Halsell, former Redskin cap analyst and Football Outsiders columnist, wrote this about Allen last summer:
"If you are a club looking for a front office executive, given the job he did in Tampa Bay, Bruce Allen is a name you'd have to seriously consider."
Tampa Bay, under Allen's management, ranked second as the most efficient user of salary cap dollars in 2008 according to Halsell's Jun. 4, 2009, Football Outsider's story, Under The Cap: 2008 Cap Efficiency .
Halsell pointed out that unused cap dollars roll over to future years. That's a neat cushion when you have to sign two or three quality free-agent linemen.
The Redskins ranked 17th on that list. Here's what you need to know about the Redskins 2009 salary cap. Brandon Lloyd is still on it, to the tune of $5 million by some counts. That $5 million would cover two or three offensive tackles.
So does hiring Allen mean the Redskins' cap gets fixed? Too soon to say.
We have to see if Snyder is hands-off enough for Allen to apply his expertise. We have to see if Allen is savvy enough to draw on the experts he brings to the front office.
One of Jimmy Johnson's criticisms of Snyder last October was that the Redskins hire good talent scouts, "but nobody listens to them." I wish some media type pursued that statement.
No one did. But the blurb points to the biggest flaw in Snyder's approach to football. Managing the cap isn't a strategic competitive advantage. Even at its cleverest, it's just a technique. Drafting quality players who are contributors over the following six or seven seasons is the real strategic know-how.
Washington has a long way to go for that. The more Snyder stays out of that picture, the better.
Speaking of Halsell, check out his summary on how the Redskins under Snyder have mismanaged the roster and salary cap in his Oct. 23, 2009, story on Football Outsiders .
Washington hired Allen just when the salary cap itself may go away, depending on negotiations between the NFL owners and the Player's Association. I call that ironic.