Sean Payton revelations paint bleak Commanders future for Ron Rivera

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera /

Recent revelations from Sean Payton paint a bleak future for Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera under new ownership.

The Washington Commanders could be under a new owner or some sort of consortium by the time OTAs begin. Speculation continues to mount about Dan Snyder looking to get a deal done after the Super Bowl to avoid attending the NFL owners’ meetings, which would being an end to his turbulent spell with the franchise that’s been hit by numerous scandals along the way.

Reports suggest that Snyder is looking for $7 billion from any willing party. A few names have been linked with buying the team, with Jeff Bezos and Josh Harris among those aiming to strike a deal.

This represents a landmark change for the Commanders whichever way it goes. Something that could lead to drastic alterations to influential figures within the organization – whether that be in the front office or across the coaching staff.

A potential Commanders owner reportedly approached Sean Payton

Sean Payton fanned these flames during a recent appearance on Mad Dog Radio. The newly appointed Denver Broncos head coach claimed that he’d been approached by someone aiming to buy the Commanders about potentially joining the ranks, which was nothing short of a bombshell given Ron Rivera is still employed.

"“Everyone’s waiting to see what happens in Washington. There’s some interest from some potential ownership groups that are going to be bidding on, that have currently bid on that team, that were getting ahead of the game. Saying hey, if we get awarded this team, would you. Listen, that place, my uncle loved the Washington franchise. Last year, we go there to play and pregame I’m looking up in the crowd. A third of the fans are Saints fans. And I’m like, what happened to this place? That was one of the six pillars. That was a special place. So it’ll come back.”"

If the Commanders’ sale does go through as expected, Rivera’s seat will become one of the league’s hottest. That might sound a little harsh, but it’s part of the business and something he’s already experienced once before.

Rivera was head coach of the Carolina Panthers when disgraced owner Jerry Richardson sold to David Tepper for a then-record $2.2 billion. It wasn’t long before the billionaire let the coach go after a successful spell with the organization, replacing him with Matt Rhule.

This went abysmally and left Tepper red-faced. But if Payton’s revelations are correct, then history could repeat itself either before, during, or shortly after Rivera’s third season at the helm.

As Tepper found out to his cost, the grass is not always greener. Upsetting the apple cart with important events such as free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft wouldn’t be the wisest move for a new owner.

Only time will tell. And whoever buys the Commanders will have every right to put their stamp on the franchise immediately.

All Rivera can do is get on with the job, prepare as best he can for some crucial recruitment milestones, and hope the new owner is convinced enough to give him a legitimate shot of making a postseason return in 2023.

Besides, Payton isn’t available and the head coaching candidates have been snapped up aside from one or two remaining vacancies. So the smart move could be to wait it out with Rivera and see how things unfold.

This is yet another fascinating dimension for the Commanders this offseason. One that fans should watch with a keen eye.

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