5 bold moves Commanders made during the 2024 offseason

Adam Peters went bold on several occasions.
Adam Peters
Adam Peters / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Washington Commanders released kicker Brandon McManus. Regardless of how you view the decision, one thing is irrefutable. It is among the least bold moves new general manager Adam Peters has made since taking over football operations.

It is unlikely that morality figured heavily in the decision. In today’s NFL, the simple fact is that few teams are willing to put up with the distraction caused by having a player accused of gross misconduct.

No one is saying that McManus’ guilt or innocence has been determined. But he was brand new to the team and the fanbase. The veteran was not enough of a high-value player to cause Peters to keep him around. His release was predictable. The bold move would have been to keep him.

However, that by no means suggests that Josh Harris and Peters have not made some bold moves in their complete overhaul of the Commanders franchise, both on and off the field. The decision to go with a veteran coach like Dan Quinn can even be seen as bold in this day and age of wunderkind coaches.

Most of the sexy hires of late have come from the ranks of offensive coordinators, sometimes not yet out of their 30s. Peters interviewed several such candidates. Even if Ben Johnson was unwilling to listen to an offer, he still could have opted for Bobby Slowik or defensive guru Mike Macdonald.

Going with an older, defensive-minded coach who some see as a retread could seem bold or conservative, depending on your perspective. However, there are at least five other moves Peters has made which have no gray areas.

They are aggressive statements about how he sees this franchise and what needs to be done in pursuit of maximizing the chances for success. They are bold - no questions asked.

Let's get to the five boldest moves made by the Commanders throughout a dramatic 2024 offseason.

Commanders hired Dave Gardi

Do you what a Senior Vice President of Football Initiatives does? Neither do I. I’m not sure anyone does.

Dave Gardi may end up being one of the two or three best personnel moves the Washington Commanders have made this offseason. When Josh Harris hired Eugene Shen to run analytics for the team last year, the majority partner made it clear he intended to run a franchise on the cutting edge of current practices and technology. This hire furthers that bold initiative.

Gardi was a college quarterback who went to law school and ended up as a key part of the league’s administration for more than two decades. He brings on-field acumen and outstanding administrative experience to the franchise.

His major area of expertise at the NFL level has been rule interpretation. As Commanders' podcaster Craig Hoffman pointed out, one of Gardi’s major game management roles will be to advise Dan Quinn on penalty challenges. That in and of itself could prove invaluable. But he will almost certainly be involved in many other aspects of management behind the scenes.

As Hoffman went on to explain, this hire is an indication of Harris and Peters’ willingness to rethink the common structures to get people of talent on the team. After decades of uninspired management decisions and retreads, that is the most exciting thing we have seen from the new regime.