November 25, 2009
Owner Ralph Wilson is looking for someone to coach his Buffalo Bills, and he's not being shy about the fact that he's willing to pay someone a lot of money. NFL.com's Vic Carucci passes along this tidbit about the huge price tag that might be attached to Mike Shanahan, who may be the top target at this point.
"You're probably talking about $50 million over five years and maybe even a piece of the team," said a source close to Shanahan. "And by all indications, Wilson is ready to have that conversation."
I like Mike Shanahan and all, but $50 million? Yeah, he won two Super Bowls, but that wasn't yesterday. That was back when Eddie George, Jamal Anderson, Ricky Watters and Garrison Hearst were among the league's best running backs. That was back when Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck saved the world by drilling into a moving meteor. That was back when R. Kelly was just some guy who made enjoyable records.
The point is that the '97 and '98 Shanahan magic might not be there anymore. In fact, in the ten years he coached since then, he's won in the playoffs just once. Now, I'm not one of those people who believe Shanahan only won because he had John Elway under center, but I do happen to believe that the ten years since then matter, too.
When we last left Mike Shanahan, he'd lost half of his last 48 games, and missed the playoffs three straight years. He had made some brutal personnel decisions, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. He had even lost his magical ability to make a 1,000-yard runner out of anyone with two legs.
The Broncos replaced Shanahan as a head coach and as a personnel man, downgraded significantly at quarterback, and then they rattled off six wins in a row.
I'm not saying any of this makes Mike Shanahan a bad coach. A clean break may have been exactly what the Broncos needed, and exactly what he needed. I am saying, though, that if I were in Ralph Wilson's shoes, I'd be extremely, extremely nervous about handing over $50 million in guaranteed money, as well as a piece of the franchise, to a guy who had, over the last ten years, won one more playoff game than Brian Boitano.
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