Any semblance of power Ron Rivera had is gone after the Washington Commanders ownership group pulled rank to trade Montez Sweat and Chase Young.
What a day.
After months of debating whether the Washington Commanders would trade either Montez Sweat or Chase Young, they moved both to the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers respectively. They got second and third-round selections in the 2024 NFL Draft back in return, but it was still nothing short of a bombshell considering the esteem in which both are held.
What this means for the short term remains to be seen. The Commanders are seemingly staring down the barrel of another lost season at 3-5 with five defeats in their last six and with a gauntlet of tough opponents down the stretch, so these trades signal the start of what could be a pretty significant rebuild when it's all said and done.
Commanders owners sanctioned Montez Sweat and Chase Young trades
There was another interesting dynamic that came to light in the immediate aftermath of trading Young and Sweat. Dianna Russini, senior insider at The Athletic, stated that Josh Harris' ownership group played a leading role in the decisions and may have gone against the football men in the building - Ron Rivera included.
"I was told Washington ownership had a strong hand in deciding to deal both Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Many in the building wanted to keep them because they believe in this team but in the end, its about the future for the Commanders. The Washington Commanders are building. They now have 5 picks in the first 3 rounds. 3 in the top 50. Plus they have [Daron] Payne and [Jonathan] Allen locked in at DT. The building seems thrilled right now."- Dianna Russini via X/Twitter
Rivera has had the final say on personnel since becoming head coach. He was tasked with steadying the ship and restoring a sense of respectability to the football operation by previous owner Dan Snyder, which he did relatively well despite not attaining a winning season.
Now, things have changed.
And that is bad news for his long-term future with the franchise.
This is a clear sign of Rivera's power officially waning when it comes to football matters. He remains the head coach - for now, at least - but the experienced figure should be all too aware that Washington kicking off their rebuild under Harris probably won't include him when push comes to shove.
Harris' fingerprints are all over this. He's taken time to assess and learn the ropes since purchasing the franchise for $6.05 billion, but there have been signs of action in recent weeks that began with the hiring of analytics guru Eugene Shen and continued with trading the Commanders' starting defensive end tandem.
It's not what Rivera signed up for, in all honesty. But with no winning seasons and five losses already in 2023, a change was needed, and is welcome to finally get this once-proud organization trending in the right direction.
No more half-measures. No more band-aid fixes. No more flattering to deceive. It's time for a concise, long-term plan to get the Commanders back to the NFL's top table.
And the wheels are now firmly in motion. Whether Riverboat Ron likes it or not.