Washington had $22 million in cap room before its flurry of moves Thursday, a person familiar with the situation said. The figure increased after several veterans were released. Shanahan obviously plans to do something with all that cap space.
That’s another reason why sanity needed to prevail with regard to Haynesworth. Shanahan is trying to remake a roster that has finished last or tied for last four of the past five seasons.
The Washington Post’s Mike Jones reports from Redskins Park on the details and reaction to the trade that sends Albert Haynesworth from the Redskins to the New England Patriots for a fifth-round draft pick in 2012. (July 28)
He’s attempting to acquire quality offensive linemen, hoping to ease quarterback John Beck’s transition in an unfamiliar starting role. Shanahan is pursuing defensive playmakers, acknowledging coordinator Jim Haslett needs better tools to effectively run the 3-4 defense essential to Shanahan’s plan to restore Washington to prominence.
Hoping to accomplish so much in such a small window, Shanahan has no more time to waste on making a point about who’s in charge. After more than a year, everyone gets it now. This is Shanahan’s show.
Removing the Haynesworth distraction enables the workaholic Shanahan to work even harder — and smarter. Even a second of Shanahan’s day being wasted on Haynesworth was too much facing the task he has undertaken.
Redskins people will tell you Shanahan underestimated the rebuilding job he inherited. Sure, Shanahan realized Washington didn’t have a proven franchise quarterback — the most important ingredient to long-term success — and that owner Daniel M. Snyder had performed poorly for more than a decade overseeing football plans.
What he didn’t understand, however, was the extent of the problems resulting from the Redskins’ former star-system culture. In many ways, Shanahan’s battle with Haynesworth was symbolic of a fight for the soul of the franchise. Trading Haynesworth shuts the door on an era that usually produced big headlines during free agency but little progress on the field.
No one has been more critical of Shanahan than I, and I still have doubts about his three-year vision to get the team rolling again, but he has shown a lot this week while putting the future of the franchise first. And for that, Shanahan deserves no criticism.