Vinny Cerrato out, Bruce Allen in. What financial havoc did Cerrato wreck?
During his nearly decade-long tenure, Vinny Cerrato presided over some good draft picks and signings – but his legacy is a stream of overpayed and underperforming duds.
(Page 2 of 2)
2. Taking on players past their prime
Cerrato worked in the Redskins front office between 1999 and 2001 before returning to the Redskins in 2002. Since 2002, Cerrato took out fliers on aging players like Adam Archuleta ($5.5 million in 2006), Jessie Armstead ($2 million in 2002 and 2003), and Jason Taylor ($8 million in 2008), who cashed their checks but just didn't check out on the gridiron.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
During his first tenure with the Redskins, he helped assemble one of the most absurd collections of past-their-prime future Hall of Famers and other assorted graybeards on one roster in NFL history.
The 2000 Washington Redskins featured future NFL sack leader Bruce Smith at defensive end (roughly $13 million over his four years in Washington), once-flashy cornerback Deion Sanders ($1.5 million in 2000), hardy free safety Mark Carrier ($1 million in 2000), and tempestuous quarterback Jeff George ($1 million in 2000) in what was then the most highly paid NFL roster of all time. The return on all those greenbacks? An 8-8 record, no trip to the playoffs, and the firing of head coach Norv Turner. Which brings us to..
3. Running the coaching carousel
Here is where Cerrato's performance admittedly is hardest to separate from Snyder's, an owner whose most enduring bond with head coaches not named Joe Gibbs has been a lack of patience.
But the economic consequences are staggering. Beginning in 2000, Marty Schottenheimer inked a four year, $10 million deal. He lasted one season before being replaced by Florida head coach Steve Spurrier, who signed a five-year, $25 million deal that was the richest in the NFL at the time.
By comparison, in 2009 Spurrier's contract would have put him in the top 10 paid coaches in the NFL, on par with three-time Super Bowl winner Bill Belichick.
Spurrier lasted two painful seasons before being replaced by legendary Redskins coach Gibbs in an identical deal. Gibbs resigned before the 2008 season to be replaced by Jim Zorn, whose deal spans five years and $15 million. The Redskins 5-9 performance iso far n 2009 has led many to speculate that his second season in Washington will probably be Zorn's last.
But it will definitely be Cerrato's last. And perhaps the end is fitting for a man Redskin loyalists love to hate: There's no statue to topple because Cerrato's legacy includes few, if any, lasting accomplishments.