The sins of the past are about to revisit Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan -- if he's smart.

The Redskins' long offseason to-do list involves releasing defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth and quarterback Donovan McNabb. Oh, Shanahan could wait months to decide their fates, but that vindictiveness only will prolong his agony. Even though Shanahan repeatedly seems to fuel drama -- maybe he likes it -- the smart money is that he'll deal with both men quickly.

Haynesworth's four-game suspension ended Monday. Shanahan hasn't hidden his open disdain for the lineman, who certainly brought the suspension on himself. But poking each other didn't work all season, and it won't work now. For Haynesworth to pass through Redskins Park on Monday without meeting the coach even for a moment was dumb. Be adults. Deal with each other rather than worry about who knocked on whose door first.

The Redskins will say they're looking to trade Haynesworth, but he has little value. The Redskins could have gotten back a second- or third-round pick before last year's draft and even a fourth during the preseason. Shanahan decided to try to break the lineman, but the only thing broken was Haynesworth's trade value.

Maybe someone will throw the Redskins a seventh-rounder for Haynesworth, but that's doubtful since the pending labor dispute isn't exactly causing teams to scramble to snatch up a lineman.

No, the Redskins must accept Haynesworth was a total bust and release him. No sense in waiting. It only will cause more aggravation. Make a statement and cut him now.

A similar scenario surrounds McNabb. The key difference is McNabb was a team player whom Shanahan says he respects -- even though information on the quarterback seems to leak from his office.

No one believes McNabb will return next season even though everyone's smiling and saying maybe. Please, there's nothing more insulting than treating the public as fools. It only makes fans madder, and they still have some gunpowder left to force owner Dan Snyder into further submission. It's called non-ticket renewals, which will be a tough sell anyway if a new labor deal isn't confirmed by the March 3 deadline for a lockout.

McNabb has no trade value because he's due $16 million next season. Nobody's paying him $1 million a game, not after his performance in 2010.

Dealing with these two men fairly impacts future free agent signings. Players talk leaguewide. If Washington no longer is the place to get paid, then it must be a place where players can win titles and be treated well. Until he wins here, Shanahan's reputation on player treatment will be judged largely by what happens with McNabb and Haynesworth.

The Redskins are kings of the offseason. How they deal with Haynesworth and McNabb will decide whether that success ever spills into the regular season.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more at and on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or e-mail