For most coaches who are preparing to enter the final year of a contract, the current deal either is extended — or terminated. Lame-duck coaches rarely thrive, and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan will have that label in 2014, absent an extension.
As he enters the home stretch of the last year before he enters the last year of his deal, Shanahan says he isn’t thinking about the contractual situation.
“I’ve got a contract for next year,” Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. “I’ve got a contract this year. I’m concerned about our games. I’ve been very lucky — I’ve been in this profession for a long time and your focus is on your job. And I say that with all due sincerity — it’s something I do not think about. Anytime I talk about a contract, if it’s with a player or a coach, it’s always after the season. Once we get started, we don’t talk about it because we’ve got to focus on each game and if you don’t focus on the game you take away from what you’re trying to accomplish.”
In response to a different question, Shanahan addressed the problems that can arise when players start thinking about their own contracts.
“If you’re a guy that’s really worried about your contract and not worried about the job that you’re doing you might not have the right guy anyhow,” Shanahan said. “So we’re hoping we have guys that want to go out and give us everything that they have to possibly get that new contract if that’s what their motivation is. So I can’t speak for them but I think anybody that’s in the last year of their contract — some of these players — we understand the reality of what we’re dealing with. They’d like to put the best performance on tape. That gives them more leverage and rightfully so. We’d like our players to make as much money as possible because they work extremely hard for us.”
Shanahan’s best chance to get leverage toward a new contract is to have his players who are looking for leverage for their own contracts to win some games. Unless the team can duplicate its 2012 push from 3-6 to the playoffs, the final year of Shanahan’s contract in Washington may entail him getting paid to not work.