The Commanders became the eighth and final team to hire a head coach this offseason, bringing in former Cowboys DC Dan Quinn. Further details have emerged on Washington’s search, one which included a number of turns before its eventual conclusion.
Once Adam Peters was installed as general manager, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson became the candidate most closely associated with Washington’s HC vacancy. That remained the case until late in the search process, when signs pointed to the Commanders carrying a more open-minded approach. Indeed, SI’s Albert Breer notes how Peters, owner Josh Harris and hiring committee member Rick Speilman were “rankled” by the widespread outside perception the job was Johnson’s to lose.
The latter elected (as he did in 2023) to withdraw from head coach consideration for the Commanders and Seahawks. The timing of that decision – which Washington’s front office became aware of while flying to Detroit – has not gone over well, and Johnson has become the subject of reporting pointing to poor interviews and a high asking price. With him out of the running, Washington and Seattle both turned their attention to Mike Macdonald as a top target.
As Ben Standig and Dianna Russini of The Athletic report, the Commanders were keen on the ex-Ravens defensive coordinator until the Seahawks “swooped in with more money” (subscription required). As they note, Macdonald received a six-year contract with Seattle – standard practice in the NFL being four- or five-year agreements for coaches – something which no doubt factored into his decision to head to the Emerald City.
The Athletic report also corroborates others from last week which stated the Commanders offered their HC position to Macdonald around the same time he was finalizing his agreement with the Seahawks. That has led to concerns that Quinn, whose run at the helm of the Falcons included a 43-42 record, was no higher than third on Washington’s priority list. The 53-year-old’s leadership traits have, on the other hand, earned considerable praise in Dallas and elsewhere during Washington’s vetting process.
Quinn is in place (along with his offensive and defensive coordinators) as the Commanders aim to move forward from a disappointing final campaign under Ron Rivera. With the dust having settled on the HC cycle, both Washington and Seattle can proceed with their respective coaches, although the process undergone by the former in particular to arrive at this point is certainly noteworthy.