Brandon McManus was a problem the Commanders didn't need

Brandon McManus
Brandon McManus / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders were enveloped in scandal for almost two decades under Dan Snyder. He created a toxic work culture and brought countless scandals to the NFL's door throughout a tumultuous spell in charge. This eventually resulted in the billionaire being forced to sell the franchise against his will.

Josh Harris' ownership group has completely shifted the culture. Another potential stain on their blossoming credentials so soon into this exciting new tenure came at the worst possible time. That's why Brandon McManus was a problem they didn't need.

Commanders released kicker Brandon McManus

McManus was picked up this offseason. Despite an indifferent campaign production-wise with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2023, the Commanders believed he had something left in the tank, signing the veteran to a one-year deal that counted $3.6 million against the salary cap. After accusations of sexual assault came to light, those in power released the kicker.

This was widely expected, even though McManus' representatives denied wrongdoing. They will also fight the civil lawsuit to exonerate their client based on a statement via Nicki Jhabvala from the Washington Post.

"Brandon would like to thank the Washington Commanders for the opportunity to be a part of the organization. However, we reiterate that the allegations against Brandon are and remain absolutely false and, importantly, are contradicted by indisputable evidence and the accusers’ own prior inconsistent statements and omissions. While we are disappointed with the team’s decision to release Brandon before he had the opportunity to defend against these fabricated claims, we will aggressively defend and clear Brandon’s name and reputation through the legal process. We intend to defeat these claims, fully exonerate him and look forward to seeing him back on the field where he belongs."

Brett Gallaway via Washington Post

The expendable nature of the kicking position meant this was almost a foregone conclusion. The new owners' desire to restore the reputation of this once-proud organization meant they couldn't leave anything to chance.

Had this been a star quarterback or an elite pass-rusher, it's a different story. That's how it goes around the NFL for good or bad. McManus is innocent until proven guilty, but the Commanders decided to remove him from the equation following some research into the matter in recent days.

It's a sign things are being done differently. The Commanders cannot fall into the habits that plunged them into disgrace when Snyder held absolute power. McManus could clear his name in the future. But when it's all said and done, Washington didn't want the added distraction heading into a pivotal transition period under head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Adam Peters.

This leaves the Commanders looking for a starting kicker. Options are thin on the ground from the remaining veteran pool. However, several kickers are currently thriving in the UFL. Peters will be taking a close look at all potential options before finding a replacement for McManus.

McManus and his team seem confident that this case will go in their favor. At the same time, mud sticks.

After working so hard to remove Snyder's stain from the Commanders and getting those around the NFL to look at them differently, this was always going to end badly for McManus. Those in power washed their hands of the veteran and can now move forward with the same purpose and professionalism displayed since Harris took the helm.