The Redskins’ pitch to lure Peyton Manning to Washington is expected to include the benefits of playing for a coach with Mike Shanahan’s resume, the team’s healthy cap space and its plans for free agency, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Unlike the other teams believed to be in pursuit of the superstar quarterback, the Redskins boast a coach with two Super Bowl rings. Shanahan also has an extensive work background with high profile quarterbacks such as Steve Young and John Elway, and experienced success with Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler.
The Redskins are expected to tell Manning of their plan to spend freely during free agency. With more than $40 million of cap space to work with, not only could Washington afford Manning, but the team also is expected to aggressively pursue an elite receiver – Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston and Pierre Garcon are expected targets – according to people familiar with the Redskins’ plans.
The Redskins also plan on bolstering their offensive line. They’re likely to add a right tackle this offseason, and could add a guard as well.
Shanahan strongly believes that the Redskins aren’t far off from morphing into a playoff contender, and has cited the team’s 3-1 start before a rash of injuries as an encouraging sign. With an improved supporting cast, and an upgrade at quarterback, the coach believes success will quickly come to Washington.
But one question is whether Manning, Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan could coexist. The Redskins are confident that the marriage could work, and that the Shanahans would work to tailor the offense to Manning and give him great freedom within the system.
In 2009, Kyle Shanahan directed the league’s top passing attack for Houston. He is known for drawing up exotic formations to get his receivers open and creating big play opportunities for his quarterback. Those aspects – along with the chance to play in a major market, in one of the league’s largest stadiums, and in front of a rabid fan base -- also are expected to be included in the Redskins’ sales pitch.
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