When Broncos owner Pat Bowlen unexpectedly fired coach Mike Shanahan in early 2009, it was sudden, unexpected, and traumatic. If Washington owner Daniel Snyder fires Shanahan in early 2014 (or late 2013), it will be anticipated, expected, and possibly a relief for Shanahan.
As the situation gets more and more dysfunctional in D.C., there’s an emerging theory in some league circles that Shanahan may not be all that upset about getting $7 million to not coach the team in 2014.
With quarterback Robert Griffin III not going anywhere, given the draft-pick investment made to get him and his relationship with Snyder, Shanahan may welcome the opportunity to escape the burgeoning burgundy circus, take a year off with pay, and explore possible options for 2015.
If/when Shanahan goes, the question becomes whether G.M. Bruce Allen stays. Regarded as the table-setter for Shanahan, it’s possible that Allen stays to set the table for the next coach — especially if the next coach is, say, former Bucs coach Jon Gruden, who worked with Allen in Tampa.
Allen could actually emerge with even more power if Snyder decides to make a run at Baylor coach Art Briles, who coached Griffin in college. Briles could be the best person to get the most out of Griffin, both as a player and a leader.
Or Allen could be cleared out along with Shanahan, with both a new coach and a new G.M. joining the franchise. The question then would become whether a new regime truly wants Griffin. Even if the new coach and G.M. insist during the interview process that they do.