In a strange turn of events, former San Diego general manager A.J. Smith will join the Washington Redskins front office as an advisor to current general manager Bruce Allen. Smith's son, Kyle, works for the Redskins as a scout.
Rumors began to circulate that A.J. Smith was close to joining the team after meeting with the Redskins at the NFL Draft combine last week in Indianapolis. Smith also met with the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, teams with whom he had prior connections to the their head coaches, Andy Reid and Bill Belichick, respectively.
However, the move doesn't come without some controversy.
Smith has proven that he has a natural eye for evaluating talent. He discovered tight-end Antonio Gates, who had excelled at basketball on the collegiate level, who eventually went on to be one of the best at his position in the modern era. Smith was also responsible for the trade that brought over Philip Rivers and a high draft pick, that eventually turned in to Shawn Merriman, when Eli Manning refused to sign with the club after they selected him number one overall. His draft record speaks for itself – selecting Vincent Jackson, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, and Antonio Cromartie; all who have turned out to have long, productive NFL careers.
Unfortunately for Smith, his miscues as a general manager have been widely publicized. He fired head coach Marty Schottenheimer after a season in which the Charges finished 14-2. He also drew widespread criticism when he refused to trade Vincent Jackson, who held-out for the majority of the 2010 season.
Smith's role with the Redskins has yet to be determined. If he is working solely on player evaluation, he'd be a welcome addition to the team. If he's given a larger role, it could backfire on a team that seemed as if it had finally found a front office combination in Allen and Shanahan that worked well together.
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