As the Washington Redskins made their final preparations to play Sunday’s season finale, people in and around the organization were increasingly convinced late Saturday that Mike Shanahan was about to coach his final game with the team.
That person, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the team’s behalf, characterized Shanahan’s departure as definite.
The Redskins did not confirm that, as several team officials declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. But one member of the organization, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that while he’d been told “nothing concrete” he thinks “the writing is on the wall” that Shanahan will be dismissed.
Also, a person connected to the league’s minority hiring initiatives said the expectation is that the Redskins’ coaching job will be available.
Shanahan has said he will meet with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder after Sunday’s season finale against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands to discuss his future with the organization. Shanahan said Friday no meeting with Snyder had been scheduled at that point.
The Redskins have lost seven straight games and have a record of 3-12 entering Sunday’s game. They have clinched last place in the NFC East and they have a record of 24-39 in four seasons under Shanahan. He has one season remaining on a contract estimated to be worth about $7 million per year.
It is believed that Shanahan would be paid for the remainder of his contract if he is fired by Snyder and would forfeit the money due to him for the rest of his deal if he resigns. He has said he does not intend to quit.
The Redskins also would owe an estimated $6 million to other members of Shanahan’s coaching staff for contracts extending beyond this season if they oust the entire staff. Some observers have called the situation a standoff between Snyder and Shanahan over money, with Snyder reluctant to pay the $13 million that it would take to fire the entire coaching staff and Shanahan unwilling to leave on his own and surrender his $7 million.
If Shanahan exits, the Redskins would be searching for their eighth head coach (counting Terry Robiskie, an interim coach for three games in the 2000 season) since Snyder purchased the franchise in 1999 from Jack Kent Cooke’s estate. Snyder’s coaches have included Norv Turner, Robiskie, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn and Shanahan. Shanahan, a former two-time Super Bowl winner with the Denver Broncos, has had only one winning season in Washington, coaching the Redskins to a 10-6 record and the NFC East title last season.