Redskins considering Shanahan extension

Redskins considering Shanahan extension
January 1, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Mike Shanahan finally seeing everything come together in DC

According to a report in the Washington Post, the Redskins are “seriously considering” giving head coach Mike Shanahan a contract extension when the season ends.

Shanahan is finishing up the third year of the five-year contract he signed when he joined the Redskins in January of 2010. The deal pays him a reported $7 million per season.

The report says that the Redskins are debating whether they should go ahead and push to get an extension done this offseason or wait a year and get it done when he will have just one season to go. They are leaning towards doing it sooner rather than later.

Something that needs to be considered in all of this is the future of Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son and the offensive coordinator. With seven head coach openings now and some more possibly coming, Kyle has been talked about as a candidate for a top job. The elder Shanahan said that he likely would not let his son interview while the Redskins are still playing but when they are eliminated from the playoffs there is nothing that the Redskins can do to block Kyle from interviewing for a head coaching job.

If Mike, who will turn 61 before next season starts, signs an extension and will be locked in as the head coach for the next five or six years, would Kyle be willing to wait that long? He certainly is young enough to wait, having turned 33 just last month. But you can’t always determine how long the widow might be open for you. Right now, the Pistol offense is the flavor of the day and a team might want Kyle to bring it to its program. That may not be the case two, three, or four years from now.

Perhaps Kyle could sign an extension of his own, one that would give him some assurances that he will get consideration for the top job once Mike decides to call it quits. But such succession deals usually have major loopholes in them (just ask Gregg Williams) and Kyle could find himself out of a job altogether.

That is OK if the organization is not particularly worried about losing Kyle. But if they want to hold on to him they will have to figure out a way to orchestrate the situation.

So this is not as simple as Dan Snyder tacking a few more years onto Mike’s deal. Even if he plans on letting him coach for as long as he wants to, you have to be careful about extending a coach until he is in his mid to late 60’s. A lack of succession planning is what led to Jim Zorn being hired in 2008 and that is a mistake that can’t be repeated.