Or, they should extend Jay Gruden’s contract right now.
The suspense is killing fans…some of them.
Word spread on the Interweb last week that the Redskins faced extra difficulty signing Gus Bradley to the defensive coordinator role because of uncertainty about Head Coach Jay Gruden’s future with the team.
The fourth-year trial
Gruden enters the fourth year of his five-year deal in 2017. The fourth year is typically a coach’s “contract year.”
If a team is consistently losing after four years, there is no reason to extend the misery into that last season. The coach is already a goner. It’s hard to sign top flight assistants. Players will not commit their bodies for a man who has no say in their future. Better to preserve their health for the next opportunity.
The ‘Skins are not a consistently losing team. But Bradley keeping Washington on hold while waiting on an offer from the LA Chargers says something about timing.
Why sign with a head coach with two years (potentially one year) left on his contract when you can sign with the Chargers new coach who has a five year run way and the 14th-best defensive front seven as ranked by Pro Football Focus?
No one knows what was said to Bradley to reassure him about Gruden’s future, but nothing would speak so loud as extending Gruden’s contract. Today.
What’s an owner to do?
The Redskins (ahem, Daniel Snyder) won’t know any more about Gruden at the end of 2017 than they already know today – exactly the spot they were in with Kirk Cousins at the end of 2015.
Waiting the extra year to sign Kirk to a long-term deal is expensive. What might have cost $18 to $19 million per year last June will now take around $24 million going forward.
In three years under Gruden the Redskins have righted the ship after the team botched it with Griffin and Shanahan. The team is a perennial playoff contender, the first step to becoming a perennial playoff winner, a la Packers and Steelers, which is the next step to becoming a Super Bowl contender.
Like Kirk, Gruden is a developing talent in his first role as head coach. There are skills to be honed, but the Redskins are progressing.
If Daniel Snyder still has doubts about Gruden, he should let him go today and start fresh.
Yes, Virginia. Teams would pounce on Gruden in 2018 if he were available. Gruden moved up the learning curve on Snyder’s dime. Booting him means some other team gets the benefit.
There are not many good prospects to replace him. Two of the better ones are former Redskins assistants Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, who might be the next 49ers coach.
If Snyder has seen enough, as well he should, then he should do something big to show commitment beyond 2018. Right now. Today.
Nine wins or better in 2017 gives Gruden the leverage. One or two playoff wins puts the team at Gruden’s mercy.
Making good decisions on incomplete information is the mark of a true executive. Moving when your mind is made up is the mark of a courageous one.
Hog Heaven confesses to trolling the headline to make a point.