Shanahan is merely the coach who needs to prove he is the right man to guide a healthy Griffin through the best years of his career. Heading into the fourth year of his five-year deal, Shanahan needs Griffin more than Griffin needs him. It’s a dangerous power imbalance for any leader of a 53-man roster.
It’s further complicated by Daniel Snyder’s peculiar need to strike up deep friendships with his most valuable employees and how that curiously results in the owner always having a coach right where he wants him: at the whim of a name player, losing leverage by the day. (Hello, Jim Zorn.)
This is where I absolve a 23-year-old for all training-camp sins involving the flapping of his gums.
I mean, if I was Griffin, and the owner of my company kept his family in Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with my family, if he was at my bedside after I awoke from surgery, if we were hanging at White House correspondents’ dinner parties together — where the owner made sure he told people yelling “RGIII” that, “His name is Robert” — and we were jet-setting off to Hollywood to see Morgan Freeman and Tom Cruise in a movie premiere, and he made it to my wedding — I’d feel pretty confident in showing up my direct supervisor, too.
What’s Shanahan going to do? Hold me out of practice one more day?
See, Snyder has always worked on a two-tier system when it comes to his stars and the other players who carry water to the pharaoh’s tent. Griffin has become his new best friend — just like Clinton Portis and LaVar Arrington used to be his best friends.
Yes, Shanahan was given total control of personnel when he was hired, and the days of a Portis circumventing his coach and going straight to Snyder were said to be over. But then the messiah in cleats arrived from West Texas and all bets were off. Dan had a new man-crush.
Cruel irony, no? Shanahan took a celebratory trip to the Bahamas with Snyder and Bruce Allen after trading up to acquire Griffin in March 2012, and a little more than a year later his best personnel move has made him more expendable than the quarterback.
The Post’s Mark Maske reported at the end of last year that Snyder was seriously weighing the possibility of extending Shanahan’s contract after the 2012 season. One person with knowledge of the deliberations told Maske he thought it was likely the team would pursue the extension this past offseason rather than waiting until next January.
Coincidence or not, since Griffin went down, since Shanahan let the kid talk him into playing injured Jan. 6, not a peep has been uttered about a contract extension.