NFLPA survey throws huge wrench into Commanders free-agent plans

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Snyder
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Snyder /

A recent survey published by the NFL Players’ Association made for grim reading where the Washington Commanders are concerned.

Even though hopes are high that the Washington Commanders can make the necessary moves this offseason to bolster their playoff chances in 2023, it might not be that simple. They can have all the money in the world, but a recent survey from the NFL Players’ Association highlighted in no uncertain terms how the franchise is widely perceived.

No fewer than 1,300 players from around the league participated in the report card, which ranked areas such as coaching, facilities, nutrition, and overall working conditions. Suffice it to say, it made for extremely grim reading from Washington’s standpoint.

Commanders ranked dead last in the NFLPA survey

The Commanders ranked dead last overall. They were also No. 32 in numerous categories, with some areas receiving an F- grade after almost no investment whatsoever from team owner Dan Snyder in recent years.

Here’s what the survey concluded from Washington’s point of view:

  • Treatment of families: F
  • Nutrition: D+
  • Weight Room: C+
  • Strength Staff: A+
  • Training Room: F-
  • Training Staff: D
  • Locker Room: F-
  • Travel: F-

The survey went on to say that players had absolutely no confidence in Snyder making the right investments to improve performance levels. This is a problem Washington might not have for much longer if the disgraced owner sells up as anticipated.

"“The locker room does not have confidence that club owner Dan Snyder is willing to invest to upgrade the facilities, as player responses rank him 31st in this category. Players had significantly more concerns with each area of the facility than the player respondents on any other team. For example, they were the team most consistently identified as having an understaffed training room.”"

The coaching infrastructure might be Washington’s saving grace when it comes to player recruitment this offseason. Ron Rivera, Jack Del Rio, and Eric Bieniemy are hugely respected in league circles, which could trump anything else going on behind the scenes providing the necessary funds are made available before the frenzy commences.

A Commanders’ statement released almost immediately after the survey was published highlighted their desire to improve all aspects. However, they did acknowledge that more was needed, which will gather pace once Snyder relinquishes control, one suspects.

"“Player health and safety is our top priority, and we continue to invest in our facilities, including a new practice field, new turf in the practice bubble and increased meeting room space. We know there is more to do, and we regularly talk with our players about ways to improve their work environment and the experience for their families.”"

Perhaps taking free agents on a tour of team facilities won’t be the brightest idea in the world after this. But money does talk at the end of the day and those around the league should also be fully aware that Snyder’s time with the Commanders is wearing extremely thin.

This could throw a wrench into the team’s plans, especially if some of the more coveted free agents receive similar offers from elsewhere. So the silver tongue of influential figures not named Snyder within the building need to sell this project in a big way to secure their targets.

When it’s all said and done, this comes down to one thing.

The sooner Snyder sells up, the better.

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