Why does Mike Shanahan still have a job? There are seven millions reasons for it.
Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder currently are engaged in a high-stakes game of chicken regarding whether Shanahan will leave with or without a buyout of the final year of Shanahan’s contract. Shanahan apparently wants to be fired, so that he’ll be paid. Snyder surely hopes Shanahan will finish what he reportedly started in January, walking away and getting nothing.
The next tangible development will come when Shanahan decides whether to shut down quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season. If Shanahan does, and then if Snyder overrules the coach, Shanahan arguably would have enough ammunition to claim that his contract has been violated. Which possibly would allow Shanahan to walk away while also getting paid.
Thus, if Shanahan makes good on his suggestion that Griffin will be shut down in order to ensure that Griffin will be healthy throughout the offseason program and training camp (when there’s undoubtedly a new coach), Snyder will have to decide whether to do nothing as his alleged BFF sweats out whether Kirk Cousins plays well enough in the final three games to cause a schism in the fan base over whether Cousins or Griffin should be the starter in 2014.
The best outcome for both sides would be to find a middle ground that allows Shanahan to make, for example, half of the money and move on. That outcome could be far easier said than done, given that both Shanahan and Snyder got to where they are in large part because they are stubborn and strong willed.
Whether Shanahan is sufficiently strong willed to shut Griffin down with a straight face is something we’ll learn soon enough.