ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- This time, it's Steve Spurrier.
In 2 1/2 years as owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder has thrown money at Deion Sanders, Jeff George, Bruce Smith and Marty Schottenheimer -- any big name who would take it.
More often than not, it hasn't worked out.
On Tuesday, Snyder was set to present his most audacious investment yet: giving Spurrier a record five-year, $25 million deal even though he's never coached an NFL game.
"The Redskins are getting one of the real names in football. Period," said vice president Pepper Rodgers, Snyder's point man for the Spurrier negotiations. "Steve is a guy that everybody wants to have as a coach."
So, once again, Snyder has bought the brightest star he could find, although once again at the expense of continuity. Spurrier is Snyder's fourth coach since buying the team, a dizzying pace noted in the fired Schottenheimer's parting shot Monday.
"Stability enhances your ability to be successful," Schottenheimer said.
Schottenheimer will get $10 million for his one 8-8 season, in which the Redskins became the first NFL team to go from 0-5 to 5-5. He'll receive the $7.5 million remaining on the four-year, $10 million contract he signed a year ago, with the Redskins picking up the difference in contracts if Schottenheimer signs with another team.
Snyder said he didn't have a beef with Schottenheimer as a coach. Instead, the two parted ways because Snyder wanted to regain the final authority over the makeup of the roster, a bit of power he relinquished to Schottenheimer in an effort to prove he could be a hands-off owner.
"It was my belief that our way would have been the most successful way," Schottenheimer said. "It was the cornerstone of my decision to come here, that I would in fact have the ability to determine exactly who would comprise our roster."
Snyder is getting used to paying for employees long gone. Sanders got an $8 million signing bonus and played just one average year before retiring. He kept all but $500,000 of the bonus, leaving the Redskins with a massive hit on the salary cap.
George got a $2 million signing bonus as part of a four-year, $18.25 million contract in 2000. He went 1-6 as a starter before Schottenheimer cut him two games into this season.
Snyder also paid well above market value -- $23 million over five years -- for Smith, who turns 39 this year and is starting to show his age.
Spurrier's contract, confirmed by a team source speaking on condition of anonymity, surpasses the previous NFL high of $4 million a year Mike Holmgren receives as Seattle's coach and general manager.
Spurrier abruptly resigned from the University of Florida on Jan. 4 and said he wanted to see if his elaborate offensive system could work in the NFL. He went 122-27-1 in his 12 seasons with the Gators, winning six Southeastern Conference titles and one national championship, but his only professional coaching experience came with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the defunct USFL from 1983-85.
"He has to realize he's coaching men instead of little boys who were just leaving their mommy and daddy and have their little old pacifiers in their mouth," said Redskins defensive tackle Kenard Lang.
Lang is one of the 17 unrestricted free agents on the roster, a wrinkle Spurrier never had to handle in college. Spurrier's offenses always looked as if they belonged in the pros, but quarterback is the Redskins' most uncertain position because neither Tony Banks nor Kent Graham is under contract for next season.
But Spurrier will have the help of a yet-to-be-named general manager, having no desire to run the whole operation the way Schottenheimer did as both coach and director of football operations.
Snyder's list of possible GMs includes Bruce Allen, Vinny Cerrato, Bobby Beathard and Ron Wolf.
Snyder tried to land Spurrier before hiring Schottenheimer a year ago. He denied that he was trying to force out Schottenheimer at any cost because of Spurrier's sudden availability.
"That was not the issue at all," Snyder said. "I actually thought a week ago we were going to come to terms with Marty, hire a proper manager and move on."
But Rodgers said the courtship of Spurrier was well under way even as the Schottenheimer negotiations were ongoing. A face-to-face Snyder-Spurrier meeting all but clinched the deal before Schottenheimer was fired.
"It was time for Steve and Dan to get to know one another and spend a lot of time together," Rodgers said. "And that was the key to the whole thing."
Schottenheimer, who ended a two-year retirement to join the Redskins, said he wants to coach again, a distinct possibility given he has a home in North Carolina and that the Carolina Panthers have an opening.
"You're away from anything for a couple of years, and you think that you're still capable but you're not sure," Schottenheimer said. "Having been back for a year, I can do it."
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