Will pending Commanders sale strike fear into NFC East rivals?

Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Washington Commanders' pending sale to Josh Harris and his ownership group strike fear into their NFC East rivals?

We are 18 days and counting before the Washington Commanders fall into new hands. Josh Harris' ownership group worked hard to make the necessary alterations to their $6.05 billion sale documents ahead of the vote among other NFL owners on July 20, which will officially bring in a potentially prosperous era for this once-proud franchise.

Whether the desire to oust Dan Snyder meant some corners to the league's normal protocol were cut is irrelevant. Harris and his team of investors look more than qualified to bring the good times back to Washington, even if it might not happen overnight considering the current state of affairs after almost 25 years of complete mismanagement.

The Commanders have generally been perceived as a laughing stock for the majority of Snyder's tenure. Disgrace off the field and very little success on it demoted them from the NFL's top table, which was obviously good news for Washington's rivals within the NFC East aside from one or two division titles.

Commanders sale is a wake-up call for NFC East rivals

Now, things are changing.

There is renewed hope and an added sense of purpose across the Commanders with Harris' group set to take charge. He has success running sports franchises and the presence of Magic Johnson within the consortium is something that provides Washington with a recognizable figurehead that is relatable nationally.

For the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles, this might be a problem. Perhaps not immediately, but the Commanders represent a sleeping giant ready to wake and new owners could be the spark that ignites it to life at long last.

This was a topic discussed by Jon Machota from The Athletic during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan, who said via USA Today Sports that the last thing NFC East teams want to see is the Commanders rising from the ashes after so long in the proverbial football wilderness.

"I don’t know if new ownership will make the Commanders instantaneously one of the Top 10 teams in the NFL again, but getting away from what they’ve been has to be a huge positive. I’ve done a ton of interviews, and when people want to talk about that sale, I tell them that this is bad for the Cowboys. If you’re a Cowboys fan you want Dan Snyder to own the Commanders forever. DC is a phenomenal sports fan base, but there have been so many games over the last decade where no one is there, even against a big rival; the last thing you want is the Commanders getting back in this thing, and all of a sudden, it’s the clear best division in football. You want them to stay down!"

Jon Machota via USA Today Sports

The fact Washington's sale is already making other teams in the division look at their long-term aspirations differently is a big positive. There was no cause for optimism when Snyder held absolute power - but consider Harris' group a warning to others that the Commanders must be taken seriously from now on.

Again, this might not transpire instantly, especially considering the Eagles head into 2023 as the defending NFC champions. However, that won't be the case for much longer if Harris has his way.