Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn and many of his assistants fully expect to have their contracts terminated by Monday, and they could be notified of their departure by Sunday night as the team returns from San Diego, according to team sources.
Team employees also are preparing for an announcement of the move by Monday afternoon.
Zorn's relationship with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has been fractured for much of the season, and during several occasions, the coach was stripped of authority, moves that several on staff perceived as urging him to resign. Snyder's interest in Mike Shanahan is no secret, and several league sources are convinced that the former Denver Broncos coach will replace Zorn as early as Tuesday.
The Redskins already interviewed one in-house candidate, secondary coach Jerry Gray, for Zorn's job in-season and have made efforts to comply with the Rooney Rule, which requires team to interview a minority candidate. Gray is African-American.
Shanahan already has been diligently working to secure a staff, likely to include son Kyle as offensive coordinator, Bob Slowik as a defensive coach, and Jim and Jeff Goodman in personnel capacities. Shanahan also is interested in Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, according to sources. Zimmer's contract expires at season's end.
Departed executive Vinny Cerrato largely was credited with Zorn's hire, but it was an unusual move in which the longtime Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach was selected to be the offensive coordinator and then promoted to head coach a few weeks later when the Redskins couldn't land a top candidate. Zorn started 6-2 in 2008, but he was 6-17 since then entering Sunday's game against the Chargers, and his offense has failed to score enough points to be competitive, although the defense has been solid.
Zorn has one guaranteed year left on his contract, worth roughly $3 million. The deal had team options for 2011 and 2012.
Zorn and top assistant Sherman Smith are leading candidates to join the Cleveland Browns' staff under their mentor, new team president Mike Holmgren, if he opts to replace coach Eric Mangini there.