The Washington Commanders are gearing up to play the ace up their sleeve - Magic Johnson - as the team's hiring searches narrow down.
Things are heating up for the Washington Commanders in their quest to put the right staffing infrastructure in place to take the franchise forward positively. They've reportedly narrowed down their head of football operations candidates to two men. Now, Josh Harris and his brain trust are ready to pull their trump card.
Magic Johnson has been behind the scenes until now. He's part of the ownership group and has a leading say in the franchise's current direction. He's a proven winner as an athlete and businessman. More importantly, everything he touches in the sports ownership world seems to turn to gold.
Johnson will get the chance to assess and convince either Adam Peters or Ian Cunningham this is the place for them. He'll be part of the second interview process. The NBA icon's previous success in hiring the correct leadership figures should be a significant asset to call upon.
Magic Johnson can tip the scales in Commanders' favor
Listening to how Johnson speaks in public and to the Commanders' staff since the new owners finally wrestled the organization from Dan Snyder's grasp, it's clear he's an inspirational figure. He also looks like the sort of man that gets what he wants.
Peters and Cunningham are already sold on the project. They've turned down interview requests from elsewhere. They want this job. They want the chance to oversee football matters with a storied franchise looking to become an NFL powerhouse after so long in the abyss.
Perhaps it's looking on the greedy side, but imagine if Johnson and the Commanders could convince both to be on the staff. That would be nothing short of sensational and a coup of epic proportions given the esteem in which both are held around the NFL.
Having someone of Johnson's influence and stature isn't something most teams around the league possess. He's charismatic. He's a born winner. He's a cultural phenom ambitious beyond measure. Eager to make the Commanders a force to be reckoned with once again.
This will also be a potential tipping point for head coaching candidates of interest. Johnson knows how to get his message across and is a hard man to say no to, one suspects. There is plenty of competition with multiple vacancies, so his words carrying more weight than most could be the difference when it's all said and done.
Of course, it'll take more than a little magic (pun intended). Fortunately for the Commanders, they have other enticing factors working in their favor.
This is a team in one of the country's biggest football markets. They could have around $90 million in cap space. Washington has a plethora of high-end draft assets - including the No. 2 overall selection. There are enough core pieces to build around. It's a big project, but the potential rewards are substantial if everything comes together.
Johnson, Harris, and everyone else involved will be striving with everything they have to ensure their substantial investment won't be for nothing. They want the Commanders to make their long-awaited return to the NFL's top table. Their desire for a new stadium and other beneficial upgrades to facilities are well-documented. These are all selling points that simply weren't there under Snyder.
Every little helps. Having Johnson articulate the plans and making candidates feel wanted is only going to tip the scales. If nothing else, it's extremely reassuring to a fanbase that's endured nothing but hardship for two decades.