Mike Shanahan makes $7 million per year. As of May, this tied him for the third-highest coaching salary in the league, trailing just Andy Reid and Bill Belichick. There’s plenty of blame to go around for the dreadful season that the Washington football team has suffered, and we’ll get to that, but Shanahan’s aggregate job performance hasn’t been nearly in accordance with his contract. Furthermore, he’s spent the past several weeks behaving like a passive aggressive, media aware version of George Costanza. In a just world, he wouldn’t get rewarded for it.
Earlier this week, Mark Maske reported in the Washington Post that Daniel Snyder and his merry band of lawyers were exploring the possibility of trying to fire Shanahan without paying him:
[I]f the Redskins fire him for cause, they could contend that Shanahan violated his contract and therefore forfeited his right to the money due to him under the deal, according to those people with knowledge of the matter. The Redskins likely would contend that Shanahan was involved in the dissemination of a report Sunday by ESPN that he considered quitting his job after last season because of the relationship between team owner Daniel Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III, according to those people.
The particular leak Maske mentions was just one of several from inside the organization in recent weeks that could not feasibly have originated from anywhere other than Shanahan/his inner circle. In late November, Robert Griffin III was said to have asked team brass not to show his bad plays in film study. And this week, even as Shanahan appeared to display genuine concern for Griffin’s health and offseason preparation, someone (again, probably him) told Mike Silver that RG3 was benched for his performance. (Read: not his long-term wellbeing.)
And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of everything that Jason La Canfora reported this morning about the nepotism involved in Shanahan’s enabling his incapable son, Kyle. “Kyle bitches about everything, and then his father has to fix it,” a source told La Canfora. “He bitches about the food in the cafeteria, he bitches about the field, he bitches about the equipment. He complains and then Mike takes care of it. Kyle is a big problem there. He is not well liked.”
The relationship between Griffin and Snyder — and the implied undermining of coaching authority — has clearly been a thorn in Shanahan’s side, but it’s not as if this was some calamity that was unforeseeably foisted upon him. He signed up to work for Daniel Snyder, the man who had just ignominiously plowed through six head coaches in the decade before Red Lobster got there. There would obviously be meddling, and that’s the price you pay for $35 million of that odious megalomaniac’s money.
Daniel Snyder of course isn’t some sort of sympathetic figure or anything — and it really cannot be overstated how amusing this whole circus has been to observe from afar — but it’s irksome to see someone like Shanahan who has been ineffective at his job and snakily subversive get rewarded with gobs of money to go home, especially when players’ contracts are largely un-guaranteed. And so if Snyder does attempt to withhold money, forcing Shanahan to incur copious legal fees en route to perhaps settling for less than he’s owed, it wouldn’t be entirely out of line and the rest of us can continue to laugh about the dysfunction of two highly unlikable wealthy men.
Related: Mike Shanahan Probably Gets Fired by Daniel Snyder Today, Right?
Related: Kirk Cousins to Start Over Robert Griffin III, as Daniel Snyder and Mike Shanahan Face Off
Related: Report: Mike Shanahan Was Ready to Quit in January Over Dan Snyder’s Relationship with Robert Griffin III