The Washington Redskins decided to flip the script on one of the biggest controversies of the 2010 season. Just two weeks after head coach Mike Shanahan benched quarterback Donovan McNabb in the final two minutes of a game in Detroit, the Redskins have signed him to a five-year, $78 million contract with $40 million of it guaranteed, according to ESPN's Michael Smith.
As far as public apologies go, I'd say the Redskins delivered the goods. Surely Shanahan realized what a public relations nightmare he caused with his self-described "clumsy" handling of McNabb's benching. The organization made such a huge deal out of McNabb being the face of the franchise when it acquired him for a second-round pick from the Philadelphia Eagles this past offseason.
And now it turns out that being benched in Detroit may have given McNabb all the leverage he needed to get something done. This is one last payday for a quarterback who will turn 34 later this month. Owner Dan Snyder had mentioned recently he still suspected McNabb would return in 2011, so you have to wonder if he was pushing for this extension behind the scenes.
McNabb basically had the organization in his cross hairs. The Redskins would've looked like fools if they gave up on him this quickly and went with Rex Grossman or decided to select a quarterback early in the draft. If McNabb had never been benched, I think the Redskins would've waited several more weeks to see how things played out.
But with one rash decision, Shanahan unwittingly sped up the negotiations. The Eagles wrote McNabb an apology check following his '08 benching against the Ravens. Now, Snyder has done the same.
With one move, the Skins have changed the narrative of the 2010 season. Was it the wise move?
Only time will tell. I guess it's a small price to pay if McNabb's willing to show some cardiovascular endurance against the Eagles tonight and lead the Skins to victory.