The Washington Redskins became the first team in the market for a new coach this season, firing Jay Gruden after just five games. They won’t be the last.

Carolina parted ways with Ron Rivera, and more teams will follow, which means the Redskins will be competing against two, three, four or possibly more franchises to lure their next on-field leader. And so a debate has developed in recent days about just how attractive this job is and just how prospective coaches might view a once-lofty franchise whose foundation is showing cracks.

The latest questions were raised by ESPN analyst Todd McShay, who said during a recent appearance on the “Dan Patrick Show” that he has been wondering why Urban Meyer was in owner Daniel Snyder’s box during Washington’s Week 15 loss to the Eagles.

Under the team’s current structure, McShay said, “I couldn’t allow a friend to take the job without saying something."

“I’m just saying hypothetically,” McShay said. “Any friend out there who potentially could be taking that job, I would make the phone call and say, ‘Make sure you get a football guy who’s in between the owner and you and that you can completely run the football stuff, [that] you can make the decisions.’ That’s the issue. Right now, under the current construct, Washington can’t succeed. They need Daniel Snyder to take a step back, they need to hire a general manager that knows football and can evaluate players, and then they need a coach who can take those players and develop them.”

At which point Patrick wondered whether McShay would rather coach in Washington or Dallas, a question that has also been debated on various ESPN television programs in recent days.

“I’d rather coach 31 other teams, let’s put it that way, than Washington right now,” McShay said.

That’s quite a knock against what was once among the NFL’s premier franchises. And while McShay didn’t elaborate, he might have pointed out that the Redskins have the NFL’s fifth-worst winning percentage since Bruce Allen was hired as their top football executive, that they are one of just eight teams that haven’t won a playoff game since 2010 and that they have gone the longest without winning at least 11 games.

And yet not everyone agrees with McShay. Joe Theismann, for example.

“Well, first of all, let me say this, Todd McShay is not in a competent position to make that kind of a statement,” Theismann told Chad Dukes on 106.7 the Fan when asked about McShay’s remarks. “I think the Redskins, to me, are a very attractive franchise — because of the youth of this football team. … You know, I think Todd McShay is way off line in his comments, way out of line. What does he base a comment like that off of?

“Those are the kind of things that upset me, when people make irresponsible statements,” Theismann went on. “This franchise is brimming with young talent: the defensive line, the linebackers, the secondary, the offensive line, I think the wide receiver position, the quarterback position. Are you kidding? I would love the opportunity to be able to come in and coach this franchise because now, first of all, you’re coming from a place of struggle. You haven’t won a lot of football games, but you’re getting a lot of much better performances out of younger guys as the season wears on.

“And I think that’s a very irresponsible statement by somebody that really doesn’t know jack diddly about football. Let me just say this: I don’t agree with his assessment of the Washington Redskins. Very candidly put.”

Dukes asked Theismann to what degree McShay’s argument might be common in NFL circles, and Theismann said he didn’t know. But then he asked Dukes to consider a different franchise, one that has 16 more wins than the Redskins over the past decade, that has appeared in two Super Bowls since Washington’s most recent Super Bowl berth, that employs one of the NFL’s best offensive threats and has landed seven first-team all-pro players since 2010 to Washington’s zero.

“Let me pose this situation: Would you want the Carolina Panther football team?” Theismann asked. “Look at the Redskins football team. Look at all the youth, the young guys that are playing, not just playing but playing pretty darn well, okay? You look at the Washington Redskins franchise, and then tell me what you have in Carolina. What does Carolina have to offer to someone? You’ve got Christian McCaffrey, okay. You’re unsettled at your quarterback position; your wide receiver position is still somewhat questionable; your offensive line position is somewhat questionable; your defense, we proved that you can run the living daylights through them, and a lot of other people have done that. So when you start to talk about 31 other franchises being more attractive, I just have to question the research that anyone has done into other franchises.”

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