The Washington Redskins have never been a team that has been coy about dishing out money for free agents. In fact, they've done more in free agency than any other team over the past 15 years.
So when the announcement came from the Washington Post that the Redskins were, "champing at the bit," to spend money whenever the free agency period starts, I actually had the sarcastic thought of, "Oh really? I am so stunned. I really am. When have the Redskins ever tried to use pecuniary means to gain players?"
Sarcasm aside, the Redskins still always manage to foul things up because they never—or hardly ever—sign the right players. They'll sign a player that doesn't fit their strategic schemes or someone who is too old or unmotivated.
An example is defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth, and he got a $100 million deal over seven years with $41 million guaranteed. So far, he's struggled to pass fitness tests, not played at 100 percent and has started only 12 games with 6.5 sacks and 43 tackles in two years.
Yeah, he's worth EVERY penny.
First, he was a 4-3 defensive tackle that underachieved, then when Jim Haslett came on as a defensive coordinator of a 3-4 scheme, Haynesworth would not play nose tackle. The team has struggled with him from day one.
The Redskins are a team that has had horrible management and is a subject for mockery, but I really think that this time, they are a legitimate threat to some degree. Because now they have Mike Shanahan as a head coach.
Not only that, Mike Shanahan played a major role in draft choices a few weeks ago. The Redskins originally had only six picks and needs across the board. Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen, the general manager, orchestrated trades that moved them down the draft order but gained six more draft choices,
With 12 picks, the Redskins can fill out their depth charts with good backups and possibly some surprise starters. Redskins fans have real reason to think that times are changing in D.C. now.
Yet, they did not address one position that I felt they should have. The Redskins did not draft a quarterback. They had a chance to grab Ryan Mallett in the second round but traded with the Miami Dolphins instead. The Redskins do not have a quarterback in their 12 selections, and they need a quarterback desperately.
Do Redskins fans really want Rex Grossman or John Beck to be their starting quarterback? And, before you mention Donovan McNabb, there is no way he's staying with the Redskins. Once this lockout is over, he'll either be cut or traded somewhere. He is not staying with the Redskins.
That's where Vince Young comes into the picture. Vince Young was recently cut by the Tennessee Titans due to a lot of maturity issues, frustration issues and the fact that he couldn't build a winning relationship with head coach Jeff Fisher.
Vince Young is a very mobile quarterback, he's got a good arm and he's a winner. The Titans were 30-17 with Vince Young at quarterback to 15-18 without him. Schematically, Young fits the Redskins perfectly. His former offensive coordinator, Mike Heimerdinger, was an assistant with Shanahan. So, I think Young will be able to pick up Shanahan's offensive playbook quicker than any other quarterback.
However, therein lies the problem. The fact that Young has shown himself at his worst to Mike Heimerdinger by having tantrums, throwing his gear into the stadium seats, butting heads with Jeff Fisher, another Shanahan friend, makes me wonder if Young is going to be even thought about.
If you want to hire somebody to paint your house, and your good friend tells you that the worker stole from him, you're not going to give that worker the job.
Fisher has stated that he still believes Young can win in the NFL, but I highly doubt that he or Heimerdinger will highly endorse Young to Shanahan. Shanahan will hear everything that Young has done. Good or bad.
Plus, multiple writers for the Washington Post believe that Young will not make it to the Redskins including Mike Jones. They are much closer to the action than I am.
There is a case to be made for Young though. You have to understand that coaches in this day and age do not have any time to waste. Over the entire 2000s, there were 74 head coaching changes. That's 74 head coaching changes.
One of the things that I have to do constantly these days is upgrade my memory ever year with new information because coaches are being fired right and left. Last year was weird because only three franchises changed their coaches after the 2009 season.
Franchises, fan bases and media are not patient with coaches anymore. Shanahan knows that he has to win now. If he finishes 1-15, there is a good chance that Dan Snyder will fire him. Granted, it'd be an error on Snyder's part, but Snyder isn't football smart. That's why he has cut back his involvement with the team.
I can't see the Redskins finishing 6-10, let alone 10-6, with John Beck as their starter. I just can't.
It would not surprise me if Shanahan picks up Young just to give himself some wins, so he can keep his job longer. Shanahan needs time to build this team, but Snyder is impatient.
Of the 74 head coaching changes, Snyder's Redskins had seven, the most of any franchise. Snyder does not understand that championship teams are like the city of Rome. They cannot be built in a day.
Shanahan may take a chance and grab Young simply because he needs him in order to give the Redskins some chance of winning in the near future. He is not keeping McNabb, and I'm not buying Beck as franchise quarterback.
The question is how desperate will Shanahan get? Who else is there to get that isn't a 10-plus-year veteran or some undrafted rookie?
I don't know what the Redskins will do, but don't be surprised if Vince Young wears a red uniform pretty soon.