Kyle Allen was shocked after receiving a phone call from Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney on his way home from a workout on March 23.
Despite signing a contract with the Panthers two weeks prior, Allen was being traded to the Washington Redskins. After spending his first two NFL seasons in Carolina, Allen was off to the nation's capital.
But the more Allen thought about the move, the more it made "complete sense." He's reunited with offensive coordinator Scott Turner, his quarterbacks coach in Carolina, and head coach Ron Rivera, who trusted him to start 12 games in place of the injured Cam Newton a year ago. Plus, he already knows the offensive system, and the Redskins needed another quarterback alongside Dwayne Haskins Jr..
"It's perfect," Allen told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael on "Redskins Nation" last week, "and the more I think about it, the more I get excited about it."
In talking to Rivera and the coaching staff, Allen said the expectation is to come in and compete for the starting job.
Rivera voiced a similar sentiment during an appearance on a Charlotte radio station last week. When asked if Haskins was the starting quarterback, Rivera said "that's what we're going into [training] camp thinking, but they're going to compete."
"We really like what we have in terms of our young quarterbacks," Rivera said on WFNZ's The Clubhouse With Kyle Bailey. "Kyle is also a young guy who has a live arm, understands the game, understands how we do things. So, I'm excited about what the potential could be."
The only time Allen has met Haskins was after the Redskins' 29-21 win over the Panthers last December, but he said they've exchanged text messages since he was traded. Allen is looking forward to the competition -- "we've been doing this our whole lives" -- while also getting to know Haskins and veteran signal-caller Alex Smith.
"That's how I was with Cam [Newton] and Will [Grier]," Allen told the local media in a conference call Tuesday. "We're all competing for different types of jobs and stuff, but we all come out with great relationships. You spend a lot of time with these people; you might as well make relationships with them."
Of the three quarterbacks, Allen is the only one who will not have to learn an entirely new system. During most of Allen's tenure in Carolina, Norv Turner called the plays while his son, Scott Turner, was the quarterbacks coach. But when Rivera was fired after the loss to the Redskins in Week 13, Scott Turner replaced his father as offensive coordinator for the rest of the season.
Allen said Turner's offense will look a lot like his father's but with "his own spin on it." It's a system predicated on pushing the ball downfield and taking what the defense provides, Allen explained, and when everyone is doing their job, it's difficult to stop.
And who better to orchestrate the attack than the man who has been around it for nearly his entire life?
"[Scott Turner] understands the ins and outs of it, and he's extremely smart on the mental side of the ball, too," Allen said. "I think the sky's the limit with the offense; it's just what the players are going to do with it, what we can do with it."
Allen admits learning Turner's version of the "Air Coryell" offense takes time. During Allen's first season in Carolina, when he barely received practice reps, he stood in front of a mirror and went over the plays again and again each night. With hundreds of concepts, formations and plays, repetition was imperative.
All in all, Allen said it took a "solid month, month and a half" before he felt comfortable going through plays in practice.
"It's tough to grasp it at first, but once you grasp it, it's really fluid," Allen said. "You can add a lot of things into it. You can maneuver it in different ways to help the team out. I think it's a really good system, and I think Scott has a really good idea of what he wants to do with it."
With offseason training suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen's familiarity with the offense will be more important than ever as the Redskins prepare for the 2020 campaign.
In the absence of voluntary workouts, Allen can be a liaison between offensive coaches and players by relaying information and explaining concepts that might be hard to understand. This will be especially vital for Haskins, who will be learning his third offensive system in as many years dating back to his time at Ohio State. But it will also be crucial for the Redskins' second-year wide receivers in addition to young running backs Derrius Guice and Bryce Love.
Without having played a game, Allen is beginning to understand how he'll fit into the Redskins' plans moving forward. That's given him clarity for what was initially an "interesting" and "random" trade.
"I got to sit back and think about it for the last 24 hours," Allen said last week, "And I'm just really excited to be back with the coaches, back with Rivera, back with Coach Turner and a lot of new faces around here."