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From benching to $78 million deal, in two short weeks

By Barry Svrluga

On Oct. 27, as the Redskins prepared to play the Detroit Lions, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said the following, about a contract extension for quarterback Donovan McNabb:

"They've asked me before: 'Well, when are you going to offer a contract? Have you talked about contracts?'" Shanahan said. "I'm going to do this with all different positions. Number 1, I don't get involved at this time of year. The only thing that I talk about is guys getting ready to play and playing at a very high level. If I ever talk about contract with a player, it'll be at the end of the season, for obvious reasons."

Given Monday's news that the Redskins have, in fact, extended McNabb with a five-year, $78-million contract - of which $40 million is believed to be guaranteed - what are we to make of Shanahan's words?

First, let's turn to Bruce Allen, the team's executive vice president and general manager. It is possible, of course, that Allen initiated, pursued and executed the extension. Allen, however, has declined to answer questions about the contract - even though the team released the news at about 5:15 p.m.

Allen will be on team-owned ESPN980 to discuss the issue at 6:10 p.m. Allen, who has not met with reporters or offered comment on the team since the season began, regularly tapes segments for the flagship station prior to games, and he had to redo his segment to account for the McNabb news.

Even if Allen took advantage of the Redskins' bye week - the team was off from Nov. 3-7 - and negotiated directly with McNabb's camp, it would have been critical to keep two people informed on the negotiations - owner Daniel M. Snyder and Shanahan.

Start with Snyder. Since he hired Allen to replace Vinny Cerrato in December and Shanahan to replace Jim Zorn in January, the owner has taken a publicly quiet stance on personnel matters. He did not speak at Shanahan's introductory press conference, a move that was seen by some longtime Redskins watchers as symbolic - one designed to show that, after years of perceived meddling in football decisions, the owner was taking a back seat and letting others run the football side of the operation.

There are, though, business realities that must be considered as well. Snyder is aware of a fan base that has grown restless after just three playoff appearances - and one playoff victory - in the past 17 seasons. The Redskins have four more home games, including Monday night's crucial matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. The prospect of uncertainty on the roster - with no quarterback in place for 2011 and beyond - and additional fan unrest could have motivated Snyder to push for a deal, even if it was behind the scenes.

Where, though, does that leave Shanahan? It is not an accident that the coach also holds the title of "executive vice president." When Shanahan was originally hired, one hot question was whether Shanahan would have final word on all football decisions.

"Do I have final say? Maybe you could say that," Shanahan said in January when he was introduced. "But you know what? Together, I will never use that. We will work as a team."

It's implausible to imagine a scenario, though, in which Shanahan didn't have input in the McNabb decision - which is fascinating in light of Shanahan's most recent action with McNabb. Fifteen days ago, Shanahan pulled McNabb with one minute, 50 seconds remaining in a game the Redskins trailed by six points against Detroit.

Did Shanahan regret the decision? Were the talks - led by Allen, pushed by Snyder - already under way by the time Shanahan benched McNabb? And did the benching, in an odd way, actually accelerate the negotiations, with the Redskins feeling like they needed to show they were behind their quarterback at his darkest hour?

We should have some answers in the coming hours and days. Shanahan and McNabb will address the matter after the Eagles game. Neither Allen nor Snyder are expected to comment on the situation.

By Barry Svrluga  | November 15, 2010; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Allen, Daniel M. Snyder, Donovan McNabb, Mike Shanahan  
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Next: Bruce Allen: McNabb extension long in the works

Comments

Mike Shanahan lied. So do a lot of head coaches. What else is new?

Posted by: makuke51 | November 15, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Steve Young, nice QB but total cocksmoker of a guy as an analyst. I can almost feel Matt Millen wanting to choke the crap out of him while Stu watches them both with his one busted headlight.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | November 15, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

....>And now will come the crush of media scorn on Shannahan and the Redskins' organization for making the entire mass of media look like blind retards on acid. I guess every single writer, pundit, analyst, commentator or just plain athlete, current or ex is going to admit that they were 100% wrong about McNabb leaving next year for sure.

Yeah, hold your breath on that one.

I swear to God, there's no effing difference between John Feinstein and Kanye West.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | November 15, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Mike Shanahan lied. So do a lot of head coaches. What else is new?

Posted by: makuke51 | November 15, 2010 6:10 PM

He lied?

Does McNabb know the Offense? No

Is McNabb in poor condition because of injuries leading him to throw short hops in the 2nd Half? Yes

Was it a mistake to bench McNabb for Rex? Yes

To say that he lied is misleading, maybe he should have been less truthful.

Posted by: Diesel44 | November 15, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it's almost like Shanahan doesn't trust the media or something.

Posted by: freakzilla | November 15, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

F F F F flight delayed. Will miss atleast the first quarter!!!! Ugh!

Posted by: dealer1 | November 15, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Old RI speak, a reference to the once famous Ms. South Carolina and here great speech about the education in the Iraq and such as.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 15, 2010 6:04 PM |

Dude - as long as you in the "splainin' RI speak" mode tell us about SJK and Jack's keeds. Tanks.

Posted by: AceOfCapes | November 15, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Does McNabb know the Offense? No

Posted by: Diesel44 | November 15, 2010 6:18 PM |

A guaranteed $40 M could turn the dude into a Rhodes Scholar.

Posted by: AceOfCapes | November 15, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Hate to be leaning on the panic button this early in the season but I see tonight's game as a must win for the Skins. Win and we're a game behind the Giants, still undefeated in our division, and basically have our playoff destiny in our own hands. Lose and we're only 2 games ahead of the pies. Let's get after it!

Posted by: bones21 | November 15, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Another move toward stability. I love it.

Posted by: bostskin | November 15, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Does McNabb know the Offense? No

Posted by: Diesel44 | November 15, 2010 6:18 PM


He seemed to know the offense just fine against the Texans...

Not executing and not knowing are two very different things.

It's really amazing to me that so many people could b*tch and complain about JC and how we NEED an upgrade at QB, finally get one and now can't get THAT guy outta town fast enough. I'm starting to think some up here could get Jesus Christ under center and still find something wrong...

Posted by: brownwood26 | November 15, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

... ...
There are, though, business realities that must be considered as well. Snyder is aware of a fan base that has grown restless after just three playoff appearances - and one playoff victory - in the past 17 seasons.
... ...

two playoff wins, two.
a lot of people forgot we knocked out the lions in 2000.
Playoff wins are used to measure how DESPERATE AND PATHETIC a NFL franchise is so dont mess up with it, you gonna upset a bunch of folks.

Posted by: wydaaa | November 15, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

it feels like we're already 4 - 5 and merely about to watch a rebroadcast of the game full of irritating commentary about this idiotic detriot game bye week qb controversy contract extension crap

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | November 15, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

"Did Shanahan regret the decision? Were the talks - led by Allen, pushed by Snyder - already under way by the time Shanahan benched McNabb? And did the benching, in an odd way, actually accelerate the negotiations, with the Redskins feeling like they needed to show they were behind their quarterback at his darkest hour?

We should have some answers in the coming hours and days. Shanahan and McNabb will address the matter after the Eagles game. Neither Allen nor Snyder are expected to comment on the situation."

we should have answers? Really, the WaPo reporters, who once brought down a US president through relentless investigation, are going to relentlessly investigate this? I don't think so. They'll just "report" somebody else's guess

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 15, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

it feels like we're already 4 - 5 and merely about to watch a rebroadcast of the game full of irritating commentary about this idiotic detriot game bye week qb controversy contract extension crap

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | November 15, 2010 6:38 PM |


That's why I smoke a doobie and watch porn for pre-game.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | November 15, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

F F F F flight delayed. Will miss atleast the first quarter!!!! Ugh!

Posted by: dealer1 | November 15, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Must be US Airways

Posted by: westjr88 | November 15, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Feinstein should apologize profusely, but he won't he can spew venom with no negative consequence. F him and his ilk!

Posted by: 1965skinsfan | November 15, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: scampbell1975 | November 15, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

bw26-

That was in reference to Shanahan being a "liar". Shanahan said it would take two years to learn the offense and has commented at least twice about McNabb being behind the learning curve.

You reference ONE game that we lost and I'll raise you seven others games, 28th rated passer, has more INTs than TDs, and turns 34 in 10 days. Considering they overpaid for a guy that is on the back nine of his career (it's also raining and getting dark) they should have waited and let McNabb earn the contract. No way it would have cost us a penny more but would have allowed us to see if he'll turn it around this year.

You probably cheered the Deion, Bruce Smith, Stanley Richards, James Washington, Stubby, Wilkinson, & Haynesworth deals/trades too.

I wanted to keep JC and all his flaws one more year and bulid the OL and DL because EVERYBODY should have known that we were more than a 34 yr old QB away.

Posted by: Diesel44 | November 15, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

McNabb's contract extension is big news wether you like it or not, but the bigger news is we have a big game tonight.

The O-line must protect McNabb tonight.

The offense has to play better as a whole, and of course,hopefully we can establish the run like we did the last game. It will be tough as the Eagles have only allowed 75 rushing yards per game since their loss to us.

The defense has to contain Vick as much as possible, along with their other weapons, Jackson, Macklin, and McCoy. One feather in our cap, Haynesworth will be playing, he didn't the last game. The secondary will have to be on point.

From what I've heard little BBanks will play, hope his speed is still intact, he can change the tide of the game in a single play.

If we lose the way I see it we're still in the same spot, third, behind NY and Philly, if we win we're tied for second.

Here we go Redskins, let's do this! Hit the field ready to knock the snot out of the Eagles and get us a win!!HTTR!!

Posted by: 72Redskins | November 15, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

we should have answers? Really, the WaPo reporters, who once brought down a US president through relentless investigation, are going to relentlessly investigate this? I don't think so. They'll just "report" somebody else's guess

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 15, 2010 6:43 PM


Right...count on a post citing a PFT post from the day before. And people wonder why journalism is dead...

Posted by: brownwood26 | November 15, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

beeps peeps

Posted by: jumbo5383 | November 15, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

All those that said McNabb would never play here after this year (peabrain, for one), what sides would you like with your crow! :-)

Posted by: unquiltom | November 15, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Business as usual. The crack reporters at the Post refuse to admit they were 100 percent wrong. The new angle is this was Snyder overruling Shanahan. Give me a break. Outside of Steinberg, the Post Redskins' coverage is disgraceful. It's all about creating a story instead of reporting the facts.

Posted by: MylesMonroe | November 15, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The re-signing of Mcnabb will help create a solid nucleus among the core group of players that will be here for the next four or five years. In reality every team has a four or five year window to win with your core group before you have to take out some core pieces and replace them. (Proof of this could be seen no further than the recent dallas cowboys and the eagles in the mid-80's) So by the time the mcnabb window closes our future qb is ready.

Mcnabb and this team is realistically one year away (this offense takes two years to learn) and what where doing now is developing a lot of core young guys as future leaders of this team (Armstrong, Landry, Torain, Williams, Trent Williams, Hall, Alexander, lichtensteiger, please keep in mind this is his FIRST year starting in the nfl ever and jus like every first year starter he will have some struggles just like trent williams, he will be much improved next year as will trent williams and Banks.) Something he also did in denver his first year before they became really successful.

Like I keep saying guys DO NOT AND I REPEAT DO NOT LISTEN TO THE MEDIA, they have no idea whats going on here because shanny and allen don't tell there plans in the public (but mike shannahan builds all his teams the same, i mean a little research of journalism could solve a lot of this but the media is quite lazy sadly). There confused at this point as to why mcnabb would sign his contract or why shanny and allen would want him back for another year, which just shows how off base all these rumors have been. Shanny and mcnabb have no tension and the benching will help mcnabb from taking a worse beating then the one he received in Detroit and motivate the line to protect mcnabb. The team will play better beat the eagles ( the media's biast coverage is obvious) and have the media scrabbling to back up all there assumptions.

Mcnabb is in relatively good health and will be able to sustain himself at a top level for at least three years. Which gives us time to concentrate on more essential needs, like center, (rabach would be an adequate backup, seeing how he is signed for another year) guard, wide receiver (hopefully we get the big physical receiver we have been drafting for the last ten years unsuccessfully, if Malcolm Kelly isn't the answer which I dunno at this time but I'm not giving up on him just yet.) nose tackle, inside and outside linebackers (for a 3-4 defense depth a lineback is key) and free safety (i like moore but we still need depth) and a nickel cornerback.

With a first round pick we can concentrate on the line I like the center out of penn state Doug Klopacz, that kid is a special type of interior lineman worth a first round pick. He can play four positions on the line and is a pretty good athlete that would fit in perfectly at the center position in a zone blocking scheme and would be a star on our line for ten years. And a good center in a zone blocking system would improve or line incredibly.

Posted by: culprit59 | November 15, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

We just signed an old quarterback that is not accurate for 78mil over 5 years.....looks like the same old team to me!

Posted by: jyshim | November 15, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, nothing like having more money than brains.

Posted by: grobinette | November 15, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

78-million contract and McNabb celebrates by throwing an interception. LOL

Posted by: SSTK34 | November 15, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Worst team in the league and that includes the 0-16 Detroit Lions. Proof? The Lions beat em twice since 0-16. Then Snyder signs McNabb to 78 million. 10 minutes in with the Eagles, 21-0 Eagles. Hilarious. Glad I'm up in New England and get to watch some quality football. Lord, the Redskins suck. Awful. Awfulest of the awful. Snyder really is a miserable failure. And the careers he's ruined. Norv, almost, Marty. Gibbs. Now Shanehan. Danny is the worst owner EVER.

Posted by: JamesChristian | November 15, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

As long as snyder is in charge, we will not win.
We don't have a real GM. Every year we have more holes on the team than plugs to plug them
this will continue. I hate it.

Posted by: nomad4 | November 15, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins are a tragic joke. 27 zip and it is still the 1st quarter!!! LOL

Posted by: SSTK34 | November 15, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least we now know the price of 'journalists' crying "racism".

Posted by: chuckufarley2 | November 15, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

We're signing somebody for this amount of time and money that Andy Reid kicked to the curb. Great.

I think JMU (James Madison) could upset the Redskins. On the other hand, it might not be an upset.

Posted by: finnbow | November 15, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The Shanahans PR, no balls interviews, and plain old I didn't know I was in Marion Barry's Washington, DC. That lapse of geography and arrogance just cost Dan Snyder $40 large. Donovan, congrats my man, showed his skills learned from "art of the deal". Donovan's honor and willingness to fall on the sword for his ego driven masters made him the bigger and richer man. Now, maybe, just maybe, Donovan needs to be benched and let's see the greatness and game planning skills of the coaches/owners. Remember, everyone has a price, Donovan did good.....

Posted by: matrixcl55 | November 15, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

The Shanahans PR, no balls interviews, and plain old I didn't know I was in Marion Barry's Washington, DC. That lapse of geography and arrogance just cost Dan Snyder $40 large. Donovan, congrats my man, showed his skills learned from "art of the deal". Donovan's honor and willingness to fall on the sword for his ego driven masters made him the bigger and richer man. Now, maybe, just maybe, Donovan needs to be benched and let's see the greatness and game planning skills of the coaches/owners. Remember, everyone has a price, Donovan did good.....

Posted by: matrixcl55 | November 15, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Live from Los Angeles! If I was in Donavan McNabbs shoe I would take the money and run but work very hard at it. Here in Los Angeles which is a celebrity town there is a lot of HYPE people are making so much money which is not true. The media HERE hypes this actor or actress will make $10 million or $20 million dollars but in the end will be lucky if they keep $1 million with the taxes and all the agents and publicity people taking a huge chunck of it!! A lot of people outside the media circle don't realize that if YOU don't work hard YOU will be penalize and don't get that MONEY!! We live in a Capitalist Society and the WINNER takes in the most amount because the people in power value that talent! But in Donavan McNabbs case HE better work VERY hard and WIN a Super Bowl for the Washington Redskins or owener Daniel Snyder will kick HIM out!!!

Posted by: big_bors | November 15, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Live from Los Angeles! If I was in Donavan McNabbs shoe I would take the money and run but work very hard at it. Here in Los Angeles which is a celebrity town there is a lot of HYPE people are making so much money which is not true. The media HERE hypes this actor or actress will make $10 million or $20 million dollars but in the end will be lucky if they keep $1 million with the taxes and all the agents and publicity people taking a huge chunck of it!! A lot of people outside the media circle don't realize that if YOU don't work hard YOU will be penalize and don't get that MONEY!! We live in a Capitalist Society and the WINNER takes in the most amount because the people in power value that talent! But in Donavan McNabbs case HE better work VERY hard and WIN a Super Bowl for the Washington Redskins or owener Daniel Snyder will kick HIM out!!!

Posted by: big_bors | November 15, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

The Eagles are scoring a point for every million in McNabb's $78 million deal.

Seriously, why doesn't someone take the tiny tyrants checkbook away? Stupid decisions like this have given us mediocrity for a decade. Do we need another decade to learn?

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | November 15, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...not looking like such a great use of $78M.

Posted by: dmahon | November 16, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

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