Commanders’ brass doesn’t think potential sale will impact offseason moves

Commanders' brass: Potential sale won't impact offseason moves originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

With the 2022 NFL season in the books, the Washington Commanders now enter an offseason that has the potential to be franchise-altering, the biggest reason for such having nothing to do with anything on the football field.

In November, co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder hired Bank of America to help explore the potential sale of the Commanders. Initial bids were sent to the franchise by Dec. 23, per NBCSW’s JP Finlay. It’s not a given, but there is a realistic possibility the completion of the sale occurs this offseason.

On Tuesday, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew met with local media for their season-ending press conference. Naturally, the two were asked if the potential ownership sale will impact Washinton’s football-related plans this offseason.

“I don’t worry about that,” Mayhew said. “We’re really focused on what we need to do to get better for next season and that’s totally out of our hands. I don’t worry about things I can’t control.”

Like Mayhew, Rivera also downplayed how the potential sale will impact football decisions this offseason.

“We’re gonna do what we’re supposed to do as far as getting ourselves ready to go forward,” Rivera said. “We’ve got to look at what’s coming up in the draft, what’s coming up in free agency. We look at what we have on our roster and finish those evaluations. Finish the evaluations of myself, the staff and what we do.”

Rivera and Mayhew will both meet with the Snyders next Monday, the head coach said, adding he only had the chance to speak with ownership “very briefly” prior to Tuesday’s press conference.

This isn’t the first time Rivera has gone through an ownership change. In Carolina, Rivera remained the Panthers’ head coach in 2018 when Jerry Richardson sold the franchise to David Tepper. Rivera remained the Panthers’ head coach for nearly the next two seasons before he was let go in December of 2019.

When going through an ownership change in Carolina, Rivera said he was told to conduct “business as normal.” That’s what he plans to do this time around in Washington, too.

“We prepared for the draft like we normally did. We tried to put all the pieces into place like we normally would,” Rivera said. “We went out and did the free agency thing like we normally would. So really, it didn’t impact those things because for the most part, if you stop working, they may not get that type of product you want.”

Well, things seem to be business as usual in Washington right now.

Just hours after speaking with the media, Rivera fired offensive coordinator Scott Turner after three seasons. The move didn’t come as a surprise — Washington’s offense never ranked above 20th in yards gained or 23rd in points scored under Turner’s watch. 

However, major staff changes aren’t typical when ownership is in limbo. Turner signed a three-year extension earlier this year and will be paid out the remainder of his contract. The last thing ownership wants to do is have to pay staff members no longer with the club when they’re simultaneously hoping to sell the franchise.

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During locker room cleanout on Monday, multiple Commanders players were asked how the potential sale could impact them. Almost every one of them downplayed the effect it has on the players themselves.

“I mean, from experience, it didn’t really affect the players too much,” Curtis Samuel, who played in Carolina under Rivera during the ownership change, said. “We were just focused on just becoming a good team. We didn’t really focus on upstairs stuff. Our main job was, ‘How can we win games?'”

“No matter who’s the owner or the coach, we’re the players and we have to go out and execute and win the games,” Terry McLaurin added. “Ownership and coaching is a big part of what we do, but also, we’re the ones on the field executing and have to execute and we had our opportunities to do that and we didn’t quite do that.”

Ownership uncertainty could certainly impact the Commanders’ players hoping for new contracts.

Standout defensive tackle Daron Payne is set to be a free agent, and while Mayhew and Rivera expressed the desire to bring him back, it’s worth wondering if ownership will sign off on another big payday for a defensive tackle. Safety Kam Curl, a seventh-round pick in 2020, is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is due for a massive pay raise, too.

The Commanders’ brass can downplay the organizational impact of ownership uncertainty. But if Carolina’s sale is the example, changes at the top will likely only lead to more turnover down the line. 

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