Recent insider revelations about what comes next for the Washington Commanders paint a bleak picture for general manager Martin Mayhew.
As the Washington Commanders gear up for what looks to be an extremely tough challenge against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17, speculation continues to run rampant on the team's future. Ron Rivera is the hot topic of discussion following another dramatic few days, but general manager Martin Mayhew's time with the franchise could also be coming to an end once the 2023 campaign reaches its conclusion.
Mayhew's been a part of Washington's suspect roster building under Rivera, although he doesn't get the final say. According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero from the NFL Network, all signs point to Josh Harris' ownership group moving forward with more traditional methods in pursuit of getting the Commanders back among the contenders.
"The status of general manager Martin Mayhew is also up in the air. Expect the Commanders to at least explore a modified front office structure that more closely resembles other sports, with a president of football operations-type overseeing the head coach and GM. Eugene Shen, who was hired in October as senior vice president of football strategy, oversees analytics and software for the football department and will remain part of the leadership team moving forward."- Ian Rapoport & Tom Pelissero, NFL.com
There are a lot of front office figures and coaches nervously looking over their shoulders. They'll be the first to carry the can if Harris decides to hit the reset button. Once the new hires come into the building, attention will begin turning to the playing side of things.
This latest report doesn't exactly scream positivity for Mayhew. It's also worth remembering how influential analytics guru Eugene Shen was in Washington's decision to trade Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the deadline. Another sign that the wheels of change were in motion after a period of assessment from Harris once he'd finalized his $6.05 billion purchase.
Forcing a head coach on an existing general manager - or vice versa - isn't a recipe for success. We've seen it on countless occasions around the league. Therefore, if Rivera is let go as anticipated, Mayhew should follow.
Hiring a new front-office leader allows him to hand-pick his next head coach. Harris and his wealthy team of investors will have their opinions, but the last thing the Commanders need at this critical stage is a meddling owner getting in the way of smart football decisions.
Things have tailed off spectacularly for the Commanders after a promising 2-0 start. The team has won two games since. They've been blown out multiple times. Fan disillusionment has grown. The attitude of those within the locker room has been called into question. There is a significant need to solve the quarterback position after Sam Howell's recent regression.
Yet, the Commanders look like one of the more attractive destinations. It's a big market. They have a ton of draft capital. They could have over $100 million to spend in free agency. It's one of the NFL's storied franchises despite enjoying very little success over the last two decades.
In truth, what happens over the next two games is irrelevant. Decisions within the building have already been made one suspects. Looking at Mayhew's overall contribution and how the roster looks, it wouldn't be the biggest shock to see him removed from the equation.
Then, the focus goes on Harris, who must get his first hires right.