Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 14, one day before the Washington Redskins visit the Atlanta Falcons.
Follow the money
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder did not stand in the way of Mike Shanahan’s plan to shut quarterback Robert Griffin III down for the rest of the season, according to a report in the Washington Post. But it also sounds like he wasn’t necessarily as enthusiastic about it as Shanahan hinted he was during his Wednesday news conference.
Snyder “did not object” to the move to bench the 2012 rookie of the year because he believed it was the coach’s decision to make. But according to Shanahan if either Snyder or General Manager Bruce Allen was not “100 percent behind my reasoning” for benching Griffin he would maintain the “status quo” and keep Griffin as the starter.
It is not clear if Shanahan had that 100 percent backing from the owner. “He thought it was up to the coach, a coaching decision,” said one of the sources for the Post story. “Whether he agreed or didn’t agree is not the issue.”
The article also sheds some light on question of why Shanahan is still coaching the highly disappointing 3-10 Redskins. As is often the case, you can find the answer by following the money.
Shanahan has one more year left on his contract with a salary of $7 million. If he gets fired, he gets paid that money. If he quits he does not.
If Snyder fires Shanahan and the assistant coaches it would cost a total of about $12 million for him to pay off their contracts. He is probably on the hook for most of the assistants’ contracts anyway. But he certainly would like to be able to avoid paying that big chunk to Shanahan.
The standoff could end with a buyout in which Snyder would pay Shanahan part of what he is due. That seems to be the most likely scenario.
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—Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 1; Cowboys @ Redskins 8; 2014 NFL Draft 146
—Today’s schedule: No availability, team traveling to Atlanta
In case you missed it
Shanahan talks about benching RG3
As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.
No. 6 worst play of 2016
Redskins at Cardinals Week 13
3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23
David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).
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Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.
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Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run all season.
10 best plays countdown
10 worst plays countdown
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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.
Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.
Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards.
The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.
Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.
It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade.
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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!