Were Commanders free-agent moves hindered by ownership saga?

(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Snyder
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Snyder /

Were the Washington Commanders’ moves in free agency hindered by the ongoing ownership saga that shows no signs of concluding just yet?

Despite attention slowly turning to football matters as preparations for the upcoming 2023 campaign gather pace, one dark cloud remains over the Washington Commanders. One that’s come with increasing uncertainty and speculation in recent months.

Dan Snyder‘s reign as Washington’s owner is coming to an end. But just when something gets confirmed has yet to be determined despite two reported bids that meet his $6 billion asking price.

According to a recent article from A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports, Snyder is waiting for another potential bidder to enter the fray. In particular, Jeff Bezos, after the Amazon founder hired an investment firm to explore the possibility of buying the Commanders.

If Bezos did enter the race, there’s not a lot anyone could do to match his vast wealth. Something that would net Snyder even more before riding off into the sunset.

Commanders had an unnecessary distraction in free agency

This has been a distraction for Ron Rivera and his staff throughout the offseason. They’ve had to answer countless questions about the topic, but one NFL executive believes it’s also had a considerable impact on the team’s personnel moves along the way.

The unnamed executive, who spoke with Mike Sando of The Athletic, claimed the Commanders had erred on the side of caution throughout free agency, treading water rather than making a stronger claim to improve their fortunes within a highly competitive NFC East.

"“It looks like a group that was trying to do the best they could to compete a little bit, but knew they didn’t have the resources or the backing to do much more. It was like they said, ‘Derek Carr, Jimmy G … our owner wasn’t going to give us the budget, and none of those guys were maybe worth it anyway. Sam Howell gives them some excitement around the team, an unknown, but beyond re-signing Payne, it looks like the rest is treading water, waiting for a new owner.”"

This might be true to a certain extent. Snyder was unlikely to put up the escrow needed for substantial splashes as he waits for new owners to foot the bill, so bargain-hunting and moving forward with those already around was seemingly the best course of action.

A report also surfaced during free agency that Snyder put back the bonus payments on contract extensions for the likes of Daron Payne and others. This would leave him without any remaining financial commitments to the Commanders once sold – but time is now firmly of the essence.

It’s also worth remembering how Rivera likes to build his roster. Even from his time on the Carolina Panthers, there were few – if any – marquee splashes, with the head coach preferring to draft and develop in pursuit of contention.

Therefore, even if the money was readily available, Rivera isn’t going to alter course at this stage of his coaching career. So the Commanders will roll with this ethos until the experienced figure’s services are no longer required.

As for Snyder, there is a supposed deadline of May 22 for a sale agreement to be in place according to Perez. This would come in time for the latest batch of NFL owners’ meetings where they might vote to approve a new owner.

Then, and only then, can everyone associated with the Commanders look forward with a sense of hope.

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