Shutdown Corner - NFL

Mike Shanahan is about to find out that silence is golden. The former Denver Broncos coach will earn $7 million next season provided he keeps his mouth shut about the team that fired him in December.

When owner Pat Bowlen fired his long-time coach after the end of last season, Shanahan still had two years and $14 million left on his contract. As long as he doesn't badmouth the Broncos (and doesn't take another coaching gig), Shanahan will continue to be the highest paid coach in the NFL.

Woody Paige describes the interesting clause in a piece on Shanahan that appeared in Sunday's Denver Post:

Mike talked publicly Saturday for the first time with anyone in the media since his tearful goodbye on New Year's Eve.

Did he talk about his replacement, Josh McDaniels? Did he talk about the trade of Jay Cutler(notes)? Did he talk about Brandon Marshall(notes)? Did he talk about owner Pat Bowlen?

No.

Shanahan has a clause in his contract that prevents him from saying practically anything about the Broncos. He will receive $7 million this season for not coaching and not ripping the Broncos.

As the article points out, Shanahan isn't exactly the bridge burning type, so keeping his mouth shut about the Broncos shouldn't be too hard, particularly with $7 million on the line. But it'd be interesting to know what type of statement would constitute a breach of contract.

Would it prevent him from working in television, where he might have to objectively give an opinion on the team? Could he give an interview where he sarcastically says, "yeah, I think Josh McDaniels is AWESOME" and then wink with a wry smile? Can he anonymously comment here at Shutdown Corner about how Kyle Orton(notes) makes Jake Plummer(notes) look like John Elway?

It's probably best for Shanahan to say nothing at all, lest something get misconstrued. But, then again, Shanahan is nothing if not stubborn.

Later in the Woody Paige-penned piece (don't let the writer scare you away, it's quite good), it's mentioned that Shanahan "privately" told a friend that he thinks the Jay Cutler trade was a mistake. Since that was a second-hand conversation getting recounted, I can't imagine it will be a problem. But if Shanahan continues to make statements like that, he might soon find out that you can't, indeed, get money for nothing.

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