It’s time for Shanahan to show he’s still capable of coaching a winner. He has to start making sound football decisions again. In his second try, the person owner Daniel M. Snyder hired to lead the organization must prove he’s the right man for the job, because Shanahan’s opening act didn’t inspire confidence.
After business resumes, Shanahan should do what’s right and accommodate quarterback Donovan McNabb with a trade to his desired destination.
Forget about holding out for the highest draft pick. Don’t keep McNabb on the roster throughout the preseason in an effort to create a bidding war. That would only prolong a lingering, ugly situation that requires resolution as quickly as possible.
Shanahan’s decision to trade for McNabb was the worst of his career. Then Shanahan and his son, Kyle, Washington’s offensive coordinator, compounded the error while clumsily all but removing the six-time Pro Bowler from a 6-10 team.
Despite Snyder’s disappointment about losing a player of McNabb’s stature after only one season, Snyder gave Shanahan player-personnel control of the Redskins, and Shanahan doesn’t believe in McNabb. Regardless of General Manager Bruce Allen’s frustration over the failure to handle things privately, Allen knows the Redskins cannot exercise McNabb’s $10 million contract option after Mike and Kyle have told anyone who would listen he cannot play in their offensive system.
The Shanahans did so much to devalue McNabb that the Redskins should not expect to receive much in exchange for a player beginning his 13th season. Also, teams are expected to ask McNabb to rework his contract to facilitate a trade, so the Redskins will need his cooperation, limiting potential trading partners.
McNabb probably would give back his $3.5 million signing bonus if the Redskins were willing to release him when the lockout ends, but Shanahan wants something more than money after squandering second- and fourth-round picks on McNabb. If the Redskins move McNabb a minute after a new collective bargaining agreement is formally implemented or wait until the day after their first regular season game — the option deadline — it would still be surprising if any team offered more than a sixth- or conditional seventh-round pick for him. Shanahan needs to let McNabb move on at any price.
Then there’s defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth. It would be hard to imagine a worse pairing than Haynesworth and Shanahan, who, predictably, were at odds throughout last season.
Washington’s coaching staff has given up hope of Haynesworth ever playing at the high level he once did for Tennessee, which offered the Redskins a draft pick for the two-time all-pro performer. Although Haynesworth was Snyder’s biggest blunder ($41 million in guaranteed contract money), the damage is done.