Skins can't let Bears beat them to Shanahan

The worst-kept secret in the NFL right now is that the Washington Redskins intend to make Mike Shanahan their next head coach. Players not named Albert Haynesworth have tried to remain respectful to the current Redskins coaching staff in public, but they've made no secret of their admiration for Shanahan and what he could bring to the organization.

When I asked Jason Campbell about Shanahan on Wednesday, he said that friends from around the league had called and texted him about Shanahan's reputation for taking quarterbacks to the next level. He knows that Shanahan has worked with Hall of Famers Steve Young and John Elway -- and both of those players give Shanahan a lot of credit for their success.

But now there's a report on ESPNChicago.com indicating that Shanahan might also have an interest in the Bears' head-coaching position -- if Lovie Smith is fired. Here's what a "close friend" of Shanahan's told Melissa Isaacson:

"The job is really attractive to Mike," the friend said. "It's home [with relatives of his, including his dad, in the Chicago area, and wife Peggy's family still in the Bloomington area]. It's a great challenge because that roster needs to be made over, and the one guy there to build the team around is the one guy he has already built a team around and with whom he has a tremendous comfort level, Jay Cutler."

It's not like Cutler has given coaches much reason to covet his services with his awful performance this season, but obviously he and Shanahan had a solid rapport in Denver. Most head coaches will tell you that inheriting a good quarterback makes all the difference. Just ask Norv Turner about that in San Diego. Cutler put up impressive numbers while working with Shanahan in Denver.

And I hadn't really given the whole Shanahan family angle a lot of thought before reading Isaacson's story. SI.com's Peter King also mentioned that Shanahan might have an interest in the Bears job in his most recent "Monday Morning Quarterback."

I think Shanahan is probably using the Bears' situation as a way to drive up his price tag in Washington. A little leverage never hurt anyone. But in the end, I think Redskins owner Dan Snyder will still get his man. Sorry, Cowboys and Bears fans.