Yesterday’s report on the Redskins owner Daniel Snyder,and his feelings on the RGIII benching, included this nugget:
It is believed Shanahan would have to be paid for the rest of his contract if he’s fired. The same is true of Shanahan’s assistants, and multiple people close to the matter said for now Snyder does not appear willing to dismiss the entire staff and pay the full amounts of the contracts, which total an estimated $13 million for Shanahan and the assistants.
This one paragraph has sparked a series of stories suggesting that Mike Shanahan could be back next year with the Redskins. Most thing that if he has new coordinators (at least defense and special teams) he can keep his job. The reality is that report is nothing more than a shot across the bow back at Shanahan and shouldn’t be considered a reason to speculate a return for Mike Shanahan.
After weeks of well placed news stories meant to show the rift between Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III (not that it’s not true) and Shanahan and Daniel Snyder, this is just Snyder firing back. Many have felt that the way Mike Shanahan has handled the past two months (arguably longer), has been setting the board for him to be fired and has basically come out and challenged Snyder to do it during the season. This report suggesting that Snyder won’t fire him over money, is nothing more than saying that if you want out, you are going to have to quit. Now that is ridiculous on the face of it, as the situation looks to be untenable, but what it could do is set the board for a possible buy out scenario.
If money is a sticking point, and both sides want out of this arrangement, perhaps Mike Shanahan will agree to give up a couple million, to walk away. Shanahan has further reason to want a peaceful exit as the Redskins control the fate of his son as well. If the Redskins wanted to they could not fire Kyle right after the season and let him sit for a couple of weeks waiting for that ax to fall. While he’s waiting the Redskins could refuse permission for him to interview for other offensive coordinator jobs (or even positional jobs), leaving him in an uncertain spot. While they wait to fire him other coordinator or position jobs that might interest Kyle would be filled, so that when he was actually fired his job prospects would be very limited. The Redskins could even hang on to Kyle in a less vindictive way as well in an effort to avoid paying his 2014 salary. They could decide to not fire him, but give him permission to interview for other jobs, and when he did leave the Redskins would be off the hook for his salary. With his son’s job prospects on the line it might make sense for Shanahan to give up a couple million to ensure a clean break for Kyle.
At the end of the day though money is not going to be a factor for Daniel Snyder when it comes to firing Mike Shanahan. There is just no way you can think of keeping him at this point. Shanahan has a hostile relationship with the media, and the fan base has clearly turned on him meaning that Snyder will have plenty of support for the move. It’s getting to the point where getting rid of Mike Shanahan and his coaching staff could be more popular than when Snyder fired Vinny Cerrato. Beyond the media and fan base, Mike Shanahan hasn’t done much to show he’s worthy of the job. His personnel decisions overall have been questionable at best, and has left this team in a bit of a poor spot going forward. The Redskins have a solid core, but need to replace arguably half of their starters, while at the same time building up depth. Even worse than his personnel record, is his actual win loss record. The Redskins will have had three 10 loss seasons under Mike Shanahan in four years, and the Shanahan tenure will likely finished below .400 which is pretty bad. Finally, and perhaps the most egregious issue has been how Mike Shanahan has used Daniel Snyder as a pawn in shifting the blame this season. A lot of these stories are starting to blame Snyder for all the Redskins failings under the Shanahan era (McNabb trade, RGIII trade, RGIII benching, etc.), and that can’t sit well with Snyder. Even if they are all true (which I don’t believe they are), Snyder is not going to like it coming to light and his coach not accepting any responsibility.
Now the one area where the money could become a factor is in the hiring of the new staff. Given how big of an investment Snyder made in Mike Shanahan and how little the return was, Snyder may be more cautious with hiring a big name college coach (which would include a buyout to the school) or a former head coach who would command a big salary. This could push him more to the coordinator route, who typically start out near the bottom in salary and then get paid once they have proved themselves in the league. Now given Snyder’s track record he could still dole out the big bucks, but this is a more plausible way to save some money than sticking with a coach who has burned just about every bridge possible.