It’s the year of Bright, Shiny Objects in the nation’s capital, and the local NFL team has whipped one out in an effort to lessen the perception that the franchise is in total disarray.
Per multiple reports, Washington has given coach Jay Gruden a two-year extension. The new deal puts him under contract through 2020. Previously, Gruden had a commitment through 2018.
The timing reeks of an effort to change the narrative, especially since (as Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports) the agreement was reached on Saturday night at Prime 47 in Indianapolis, where plenty of elbow-bending has been happening on each and every evening of the Underwear Olympics. If true, it seems even more like a desperate effort to alter the league-wide perception of the organization — especially since a deal of that magnitude isn’t truly done until it’s reduced to writing and signed by both parties.
Ultimately, the final version could be meaningless, with Gruden possibly having no guaranteed payments beyond 2018. If that’s what happen, why would he agree to it? Because news of it helps to stabilize a bad situation only a few days before free agency.
While the notion that agents will actively steer their clients away from Washington is a bit overblown, it would have (and still could) cost more to get a guy to sign with Washington than with another team. Already, PFT has heard that some free-agent receivers want to know what the quarterback situation will be for 2017 and beyond before committing to a contract there.
The coaching situation for 2017 and beyond will be Jay Gruden in charge. How far beyond 2017 doesn’t really matter; as blood-alcohol concentrations rose on Saturday night, the team turned a garden hose on a brush fire by shaking hands on a new contract that ultimately may be worth not much more than the paper it currently isn’t written on.