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Rumor: Jay Gruden Talked to Michigan About Head Coach Opening

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It's near the end of the season, and it's story/rumor time for a lot of teams that are out of the playoffs

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*Disclaimer: This is a post discussing a current rumor and will be filled with speculation and semi-hot takes.  Take from it what you will*

The Rumor: Jay Gruden Has Talked to Michigan About HC Job Opening

Now another power play is in place, and it appears Griffin might actually win once again. As noted in the above Washington Post article and other outlets, Gruden could very well be a one-and-done coach in the nation's capital. If he is going to play the "it's him or me" card, he's losing that war with his four of clubs against Griffin's king of diamonds.

One source I trust tipped me off to a potential landing spot for Gruden: The University of Michigan. This source, who is intimately familiar with the Wolverines' rapidly emerging coaching search, informed me on Thursday that initial contact has been made between the parties and that Gruden's representation was enthusiastically open to the potential. I can't put a figure on the likelihood of Gruden fleeing to Ann Arbor, and another UM source I trust refused to confirm anything I asked, but it's an interesting leverage point nonetheless.

Why it Makes Sense:

Jay Gruden is 3-10 as a rookie head coach, and reportedly has major issues with Robert Griffin III.  Gruden says that he is on the same page with Team President/General Manager Bruce Allen and Team Owner Daniel Snyder when it comes to the team's starting quarterback.  If Gruden has truly seen all he needs to see from Robert Griffin III and has determined the team will be better off without him, the team has a major decision to make.

Bruce Allen was a key figure in acquiring both Robert Griffin III, and Jay Gruden.  If it has become a true one or the other situation, there are three(probably more that I won't go into) ways for this to end for the Redskins.

  • The Redskins trade RGIII and Gruden continues to work with Bruce Allen
  • The Redskins "one and done" Gruden and RGIII continues to be developed by a 3rd Head Coach
  • Dan Snyder uses the nuclear option and fires Gruden and Allen
Damn that's 2 out of 3 options that say Gruden will be fired, by my scientific reasoning, this means that Gruden will be available for Michigan.

Michigan is also reportedly interested in getting Jim Harbaugh to be their next Head Coach.  Several other names are being thrown out there.

Why it Doesn't Make Sense:

Jay Gruden signed a 5 year contract with the Washington Redskins in January, reportedly worth more than $20 million guaranteed.  That will leave 4 years and over $16 million left at the end of this season.  Everyone claims that Dan Snyder spends his money liberally when it comes to the team, but that is generally when it comes to salary cap money.  When it comes to other things like the field, the scouting department, and until Mike Shanahan came along, practice and workout facilities, the money does not flow as liberally.

Yes, Snyder did fire Mike Shanahan with 1 year left on his contract, letting him suntan at his leisure with $7 million in his pocket.  But that was after 4 years with the Redskins, three 10+ loss season, and an obvious fracture between Shanahan and Griffin.  Is Snyder willing to "Shoot and Hammer" Gruden out of Ashburn with that much money in his pocket.  Does he need to re-establish his reputation as an impulsive owner who chooses players over coaches and quick fixes over long-term rebuilds?  Will there be a coach willing to take control of the team next year if Griffin is fired?  Obviously they will find someone, but how much does firing Gruden after one year limit the coaches available to Snyder?

Odds Jay Gruden is Coaching Michigan in 2015: 1/10

Three weeks ago when I was asked by a friend of mine in England if there was a chance that Jay Gruden gets fired at the end of the year, I said it wasn't going to happen.  He was stunned by this based on his loose knowledge of Snyder's history, and also the ever growing number of losses for the Redskins.  Three weeks later and I am not so resolute in my stance that Gruden will survive his rookie year.  I still don't think Snyder will pull the trigger on Gruden after a year, but if he does, and brings in someone else just to work with Robert Griffin III, it's a bad sign for the future of the team.  Now whether or not Michigan is serious about their interest, or if this rumor is even legit, I have no idea. I do know the Redskins though, and that means I don't actually know what Dan Snyder will do.  For now I'm leaning towards Jay Gruden getting another year in Washington.  Here is a look at what oddsmakers think of current coaches on the hot seat as of 12/3.

1.       Tony Sparano - OAK 1/5

2.       Rex Ryan - NYJ 2/9

3.       Jim Harbaugh - SF 11/10

4.       Ron Rivera - CAR 5/4

5.       Mike Smith - ATL 5/4

6.       Gus Bradley - JAC 5/3

7.       Marc Trestman - CHI 7/4

8.       Tom Coughlin - NYG 5/2

9.       Lovie Smith - TB 7/2

10.    Jay Gruden - WAS 7/2