Adam Peters

Commanders Notes: Kingsbury, Stokes, Staff, Newton, Allen, Sainristil

The Commanders did not end up zagging with their No. 2 overall pick. The team received only one offer — likely from the Raiders — for the selection, and the team went with Heisman winner Jayden Daniels. In reaching a conclusion Daniels was the top player at No. 2, Adam Peters kept his circle small. Only Josh Harris, Dan Quinn and advisor/ex-Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers comprised the new Washington football ops boss’ inner circle, per Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano, who adds OC Kliff Kingsbury was brought in along the way and at least knew which way the new team braintrust was leaning.

Kingsbury, who coached Caleb Williams last year, was believed to be high on Daniels coming in. Many in the organization — including members of Harris’ ownership group — were not informed which player the team was picking until draft day, Vacchiano adds. Much of the front office and scouting department did not learn definitively it would be Daniels until the Bears went on the clock. While Harris was believed to be more involved than expected, the franchise had dealt with considerable Dan Snyder meddling in past drafts. Given the turmoil associated with Washington ownership and front office for much of the past two decades, this buttoned-up approach marked a change of pace.

Here is the latest out of Washington:

  • Retooling teams often make changes after the draft, as continuity in scouting departments is preferred due to the work done on draft classes in the months prior. The Commanders will make a key change. They are not renewing the contract of senior director of player personnel Eric Stokes, InsidetheLeague.com’s Neil Stratton tweets. Stokes joined the Commanders in 2020, following Ron Rivera‘s arrival, and moved to his most recent title in 2021. The veteran exec should land elsewhere soon, with Stratton adding he his a name to watch in scouting circles. This exit comes after Peters retained Rivera-era bastions Martin Mayhew, who worked with the current Commanders FO boss in San Francisco, and Marty Hurney.
  • Peters said earlier this offseason the team is not planning to trade Jonathan Allen, but ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes some around the league are wondering if the selection of Jer’Zhan Newton will prompt the team to listen on the veteran defensive tackle. Washington, which disbanded its DE contingent at the trade deadline, still has two high-priced DTs — in Allen and Daron Payne — and has used second-round picks on the position in 2022 and ’24. Phidarian Mathis played 203 defensive snaps last season but has yet to make much of an impact; Newton now joins him and does so as a Peters-Quinn-era draftee. Allen, who said last year he was not eager to be part of a rebuild, has come up in trade rumors before and is due base salaries of $14MM and $15.5MM over the next two years.
  • One of the three second-rounders the Commanders chose, Mike Sainristil is expected to begin his NFL run in the slot. Washington is planning to train the Michigan product as an inside cornerback, ESPN.com’s John Keim notes. He will accompany Benjamin St-Juste, 2023 first-rounder Emmanuel Forbes and UFA addition Michael Davis at the position. The Commanders, who lost Kendall Fuller and Kamren Curl from their secondary, will attempt to climb back from a last-place defensive finish.
  • The team will hire a longtime league office exec to be part of its staff. Dave Gardi will come over after 10 years as NFL VP of football operations to take on the title of Commanders senior VP of football initiatives. In-game management and assisting the coaching staff in terms of compliance with NFL protocols will be among Gardi’s duties in Washington, with the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala offering that Gardi will be on headsets during games and concentrate on the coaching side during the season. That will certainly be a shift for a longtime league office staffer.

2024 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

With the Commanders making a hire, four teams remain in search of general managers. This includes the Patriots, who have moved on from HC/de facto GM Bill Belichick. If other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown of where searches stand:

Updated 5-8-24 (4:35pm CT)

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Washington Commanders

Commanders GM Adam Peters Addresses Jayden Daniels Selection

The Commanders landed LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels with the No. 2 overall pick in last month’s draft, a pick that generated a great deal of the usual speculation and conjecture in the weeks leading up to the event. For instance, multiple sources suggested that Michigan passer J.J. McCarthy would be Washington’s selection, while others thought that UNC’s Drake Maye would be first-year GM Adam Peters‘ choice (and still others believed Peters should trade down).

In a piece detailing the Commanders’ evaluation of Daniels, which will be especially relevant to Washington fans, John Keim of ESPN.com notes that Peters did indeed have a high grade on McCarthy thanks to the former Wolverine’s efficiency, strong arm, and mobility. McCarthy ultimately slotted right behind Daniels on the Commanders’ list of QB options and ahead of Maye and Michael Penix Jr., whom the team also scouted heavily.

In 2023, Peters was with the 49ers, a club that was not in the market for a first-round passer. So he did not begin evaluating the 2024 draft class of blue chip signal-callers before he took the Washington job, but once he finally got to review Daniels’ film, he became “smitten” with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

“The way he can process, the way he can see the field, the way he goes through his reads, the way he delivers [the ball] on time,” Peters said. “He’s the best deep-ball thrower in the draft, and that’s even before we start watching him run and the way he runs he just takes your soul as a defense. You think you got him and then all of a sudden, he rips off a 40-yard run. And this is against the SEC, the best of the best.”

Prior to the interview that team brass conducted with Daniels at the scouting combine in February, Peters told a group including owner Josh Harris, head coach Dan Quinn, offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, and front office consultant Bob Myers that “something has to happen [for the pick] to not be Jayden.” 

As the predraft process went on, Peters’ conviction only got stronger as he realized that Daniels’ work ethic and character matched the quality of his game tape. As Keim details, Daniels had the passcode changed at an LSU facility so he could put in more work when the facility would have otherwise been locked, and he also arranged for 5 a.m. workouts with his receivers, a feat that one team source said was particularly impressive to Peters.

Peters also received glowing reviews on Daniels from respected voices back in San Francisco, including Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, one of Daniels’ close friends. Peters said that he never considered trading back in the draft and taking the Commanders out of the running for Daniels, and it sounds as if rival clubs knew he was entrenched in his position. The GM said that he received only one offer for the No. 2 pick — presumably from the Raiders, who were known to covet Daniels — but that proposal “didn’t move the needle.”

It is not yet a sure thing that Daniels will be Washington’s starting quarterback on Week 1 of the 2024 campaign, with free agent acquisition Marcus Mariota available to serve as a bridge to the Daniels era if necessary. Sooner or later, though, Daniels will take the reins, and Peters is delighted by his club’s good fortune.

“We couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Commanders Pursuing Late First-Round Trade

While the Commanders are set to keep the second-overall pick, the team could still be an active trade participant in tonight’s first round. According to JP Finlay of NBC4 in Washington, the Commanders have been calling teams in the bottom half of the first round.

[RELATED: Raiders Contact Commanders About No. 2 Pick; No Trade Expected]

The Commanders have the assets to move up towards the end of tonight’s portion of the draft. The team possesses a pair of early second-round picks (No. 36 and No. 40) plus a pair of third-round selections (No. 67, No. 78).

While the organization is all but certain to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick, there are still other major needs they’d like to address. Per Finlay, if the team does pull off a trade towards the end of the first round, they’d likely be targeting an offensive lineman.

The Commanders moved on from left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and have Andrew Wylie penciled in on the other side, so the team could be seeking multiple tackles in this year’s draft. While the team likely doesn’t have the draft capital to make a trade all the way up for Joe Alt, Sam Fortier of the Washington Post suggests the Commanders could target another early-round OT who is sliding down the board. Fortier points to Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga, Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, and Washington’s Troy Fautanu as potential targets.

“It’s pretty universally known [that] it’s a really good tackle class, deep tackle class,” GM Adam Peters previously said (via Fortier). “As you can see in a lot of the mock drafts, there’s a ton of those guys coming off in the first round. We got a chance to visit with a lot of them and really at different levels. But yeah, we’re really, really excited about that group.”

While teams have sniffed around at Washington’s second-overall pick, it was recently reported that the front office hasn’t given any indication that they’ll trade the selection. While draft pundits haven’t completely ruled out Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy at No. 2, Jayden Daniels remains the favorite to be selected by the Commanders.

Raiders, Cardinals Have Discussed No. 4; Las Vegas Unlikely To Move Up For Non-Jayden Daniels QB?

The Raiders are known to have contacted the Commanders and Chargers about the Nos. 2 and 5 overall picks. It should then come as no surprise to hear the Silver and Black have reached out about the Cardinals‘ No. 4 selection as well.

Arizona has heard from Las Vegas about No. 4, according to ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano. The Cardinals are both setting a high price on their pick and not believed to want to move too far down the board. The Raiders holding No. 13 would complicate this, as it has complicated their long-rumored effort to climb to No. 2 for Jayden Daniels. With the LSU alum (and ex-Antonio Pierce Arizona State charge) likely out of reach, the Raiders’ path has become murky.

Teams view the Raiders as unlikely to move up for a non-Daniels quarterback, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones adds. Las Vegas made Daniels the centerpiece of a trade-up effort likely doomed by the 2023 edition’s strong finish. Pierce’s run as interim HC landed him the full-time job — as the first NFL interim boss to move to regular duty in seven years — but it also dropped the Raiders to an unfavorable draft slot. The team has been connected to Michael Penix Jr. as well, and mock drafts have indeed reflected this interest. Penix’s potential late rise aside, the Raiders may not need to trade up if they truly want the Washington standout.

Daniels has made it clear he is prepared to play for whichever team drafts him, but the dual-threat standout appears to have two destinations ranked above the team he will likely end up with by tonight. The 2023 Heisman winner, “in a dream world,” would end up with either the Raiders or Vikings, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini notes (subscription required). The Vikings also have been linked to interest in trading up for Daniels, and Minnesota — having made no secret, via actions and comments, about interest in acquiring a first-round QB this year — may be comfortable with more QBs compared to most teams.

In the Raiders’ locker room after their Week 18 win over the Broncos, Daniels has been linked to wanting to be a Raider for a bit as well. These hopes are not expected to deter the Commanders, who have been tied to the five-year college QB for a bit now. While Washington has Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy fans in the building as well, GM Adam Peters is believed to be high on Daniels, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe adds.

The Commanders’ QB stance may also have changed as the pre-draft process dragged on. The team was believed to have been moving toward choosing Maye before the Senior Bowl, pro days and Combine, Howe adds.

It is unclear what changed the new Washington regime’s mind, as Daniels did not work out at the Combine or his pro day. The two passers famously visited, along with McCarthy and Penix, together earlier this month (Topfolf was also involved). The pre-draft circuit looks to have sold the new Washington personnel boss on Daniels, who enjoyed a far better 2023 season compared to Maye, who is more than two years younger. Peters was heavily involved in the 49ers’ call to draft Trey Lance in 2021; tonight represents a shot at redemption for the first-time GM.

One exec informed Howe he would not rule out a Daniels slide past No. 2. That scenario would add more intrigue to this draft’s expected QB-centric start, as the Patriots and Cardinals’ picks would suddenly become more valuable if Daniels were still on the board. But the purveying view hours away from Round 1 is Daniels is ticketed for D.C. This stands to leave the Pats with a Maye-McCarthy debate; both QBs are believed to have backers in Foxborough.

More Bill Belichick Fallout: Kraft, Falcons, Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Commanders

Plenty has emerged in the wake of Bill Belichick going from eight-time Super Bowl champion to unemployed, but as the legendary coach regroups, some additional information about what went down in Atlanta — along with other teams’ coaching searches — has come to light.

Connecting some dots based on what has previously come out this offseason, ESPN.com’s Don Van Natta, Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler report in an expansive piece that Falcons execs dissuaded Arthur Blank from hiring Belichick and Robert Kraft played a major role in the process that ended up veering away from an overqualified candidate who had initially appeared the favorite for the job Raheem Morris now has.

On the morning of the day Morris became the pick, Belichick still viewed himself as likely to land the job. Blank confirmed the 24-year Patriots HC did not ask him for personnel control, but power brokering — given Belichick’s outsized influence and experience — is believed to have still gone down in Atlanta’s front office. As a result, Belichick felt “blindsided” by the Morris hire.

CEO Rich McKay and GM Terry Fontenot did not want to work with Belichick, according to ESPN, which adds the six-time Super Bowl-winning HC was willing to work with the fourth-year GM (while confirming he and McKay’s less-than-stellar relationship). A previous report pointed to Belichick’s concern with Fontenot and the Falcons’ overall power structure. Fontenot, McKay and Falcons president Greg Beadles were part of the Falcons’ second Belichick interview.

Going so far as to reveal Falcons brass’ final rankings for the HC job, Fowler, Van Natta and Wickersham indicate Belichick did not finish in the top three for the Atlanta position. Beyond unanimous top choice Morris, Mike Macdonald and Texans OC Bobby Slowik respectively slotted second and third in this process.

Kraft is believed to have played a role in Blank backing off his initial hope to hire Belichick. A conversation between Blank and his longtime friend came after the Jan. 15 Blank-Belichick yacht meeting, and ESPN reports the Patriots owner warned the Falcons boss not to trust the accomplished HC.

Seeing as this comes during an offseason that has seen more information come out — via the much-discussed The Dynasty series — about Kraft’s issues with Belichick, it is hardly surprising the longtime Pats owner would provide such a warning. Robert Kraft, who considered ousting Belichick after 2022 (before son Jonathan Kraft advised against), referred to Belichick as “very, very, very arrogant, per ESPN. A Robert Kraft spokesman denied the owner, who was naturally complimentary of the game’s second-winningest HC upon the January separation, disparaged Belichick to Blank.

Belichick had already assembled a coaching staff, with some familiar names indeed believed to be part of it. Beyond plans to bring Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge aboard, former Texans VP (and Patriots staffer) Jack Easterby was on the radar to be part of a Belichick Atlanta staff. Falcons execs expressed reservations about this staff, with ESPN adding Blank also questioned why this group failed elsewhere. Belichick reportedly responded by saying this group was comprised of “better soldiers than generals.” Judge has since joined Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss staff. The Texans moved on from Easterby in 2022.

New Commanders GM Adam Peters, a Patriots scout in the 2000s, discussed the HC position with Belichick. Minority owner Magic Johnson pushed for Washington to hire the Maryland native, but Josh Harris — who spoke to Kraft about Belichick in December — had decided he would not make that move. We had heard previously the NBA and NHL owner wanted a more collaborative approach, which many current NFL owners prefer, rather than handing the keys to one person. With Harris wanting a front office-oriented leadership structure, Peters has final say on Commanders football matters. Belichick was not interested in the Chargers.

The three other NFC East HC jobs may well be open in 2025, and ESPN notes Belichick would be interested in the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants positions — should they open up. The Eagles did work on Belichick before determining Nick Sirianni would stay, with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman viewed as fans of the future Hall of Famer, and the former has been close with Jerry Jones for many years. Lurie looks to have joined the Falcons in expressing hesitancy in greenlighting a Belichick move that would bring major changes while qualifying as a short-term fix.

Belichick, who turned 72 on Tuesday, is now six years older than the oldest HC ever hired (Bruce Arians). Any team that considers a 2025 hire would be adding someone who will turn 73 before coaching his next NFL game.

A Belichick confidant also expressed doubt the former Giants DC would earn another HC job unless Jones signs off on a Cowboys hire. Mike McCarthy‘s lame-duck status will keep Belichick rumors going, it would seem, but for now, a TV gig appears in the works. Belichick is expected to join Peyton Manning‘s Omaha Productions for analysis-based work. ESPN’s Pat McAfee also announced Belichick will be part of his show’s draft coverage (video link).

Fifteen wins shy of Don Shula‘s career record, Belichick is believed to have informed allies he expects to land at least one interview next year. While the NFC East jobs are worth monitoring, the bumps the Patriot Way has taken — coupled with Belichick’s age and implied threat to organizations’ status quos — leave it far from certain he will have a third opportunity to lead an NFL team.

Latest On 2024 First-Round Quarterbacks

In a recent article for The Washington Post, NFL insider and analyst Jason La Canfora provided his projection for how the first-round quarterbacks may play out in this year’s draft. After the seemingly obvious prediction of USC quarterback Caleb Williams to Chicago, La Canfora declared a somewhat more surprising projection: national championship-winning Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy going second overall to the Commanders.

The first reasoning that La Canfora points to is the betting markets. Though betting odds are fickle and often change at the slightest whims, they can quite often predict the likeliest outcome, and right now, McCarthy’s odds of getting picked right after Williams are skyrocketing. Secondarily, La Canfora points to an evaluator who compared McCarthy to “another (Brock) Purdy.”

New Commanders general manager Adam Peters comes from the 49ers front office that selected Purdy as the last pick of the draft two years ago. If McCarthy is demonstrating the attributes that drew Peters and company to Purdy, that also helps the Michigan passer’s chances of heading to Washington. Unfortunately, that same brain trust in San Francisco was responsible for the trade to move up for Trey Lance, so Peters’ history with picking quarterbacks may be hit or miss.

La Canfora also claims that the Giants are highest on McCarthy over the other remaining quarterbacks after Williams is drafted, but if he goes to the Commanders, as La Canfora predicts, New York will have to settle for another option: LSU Heisman-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels.

La Canfora doesn’t take it as fact that Daniels is headed to New York, though. He reports that the Raiders, who currently hold the 13th overall pick of the first round, “badly want to move up” to land Daniels. This rumor makes a ton of sense when you consider that Las Vegas’ head coach Antonio Pierce got an up-close look at Daniels when the two were together at Arizona State for several years. The team isn’t very well-positioned to make the move, but according to two general managers in the league, the Raiders are making the effort, nonetheless.

Aside from those two bigger predictions, La Canfora’s projection is fairly in-line with what we’ve been seeing. He predicts that the first four picks will be quarterbacks (Williams to Chicago, McCarthy to Washington, Daniels to New York, and North Carolina passer Drake Maye to Minnesota [via trade]), he sees the Raiders settling for Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. if they can’t trade up, and he sees Oregon quarterback Bo Nix becoming the fifth first-round quarterback of the draft thanks to the Ravens trading down so that the Broncos can select him 30th overall.

This all continues a wild runup to what is certainly shaping up to be an unpredictable 2024 NFL Draft. A top-heavy quarterback draft class has provided pundits and analysts alike with myriad predictions for how everything will play out. With a little over three weeks until the all-important date, the sequence of events following the No. 1 overall pick is unclear as ever.

Commanders Not Considering Adding Bill Belichick, Mike Vrabel To HC Search

Two Commanders HC candidates dropped out of the race Tuesday. Ben Johnson, the presumed favorite, informed the Commanders and Seahawks he would stay with the Lions. Bobby Slowik, who interviewed with Washington twice, is sticking with the Texans.

This could conceivably prompt the Commanders to expand their search. The Cardinals made this move last year midway through their search. Two big names remain available, in Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel. The Commanders have not interviewed either candidate, being rumored early during this year’s carousel spin to be steering clear of Belichick. That has not changed, per Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano, who adds no indications have surfaced that Vrabel will be an 11th-hour candidate.

Regarding Belichick, Vacchiano indicates the team is leery about the six-time Super Bowl winner’s age (72 in April) and status working alongside a football ops president (Adam Peters) who has roster control. Belichick operated as the de facto Patriots GM throughout his 24-year tenure, and personnel power was believed to be an issue for the Falcons, the only team to interview the coaching icon during this cycle. Although Belichick is a Maryland native, internal questions as to whether he would want to oversee a rebuild have also emerged.

The Commanders’ reasoning for avoiding Vrabel is less clear, but the six-year Titans HC — who had been mentioned for weeks as a trade asset — looks likely to join his former coach in being shut out this year. Vrabel, 48, is well regarded around the league. But he has not interviewed for either of the two remaining HC jobs. The Seahawks have been connected to being interested in Vrabel, but they are now well into their second interviews. It would appear Seattle has determined to look elsewhere as well.

After Johnson and Slowik dropped out, only one candidate with an offensive background — Eric Bieniemy — remains in the mix for the Washington job. The 2023 Commanders OC is not viewed as a serious HC candidate, according to Vacchiano. After Bieniemy’s failure to land a head coaching job became a lightning-rod NFL topic during his Kansas City run, only Washington interviewed him this time around. The team’s offense struggled down the stretch, finishing with an eight-game losing streak and worse rankings worse than it did during Scott Turner‘s final season calling the shots.

That said, some around the NFL have wondered if the Commanders are still gauging Bieniemy’s fit with the next coach as an OC, Vacchiano adds. It would surprise if Josh Harris were to saddle his next HC hire with the OC Ron Rivera brought in, but Bieniemy does bring considerable experience to the table. Regardless of his shortcomings in HC interviews, the five-year Chiefs OC worked as Andy Reid‘s right-hand man during one of the NFL’s prolific offensive stretches. It would not surprise to see Bieniemy become a candidate to keep his job, but ownership insisting on him staying seems unlikely.

Many in the NFL expected Peters to pursue an offense-oriented coach after seeing how Kyle Shanahan revived the 49ers, Vacchiano adds, noting the team is likely to draft a quarterback at No. 2 overall. As it stands now, a defense-geared coach will be mentoring Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels — should the Bears stay on course and select Caleb Williams atop the draft — in 2024, while Belichick and Vrabel ponder their next moves.

As of Wednesday, no more interviews are scheduled. The Seahawks are interviewing Mike Macdonald for a second time today, while Dan Quinn is also a candidate for the Seattle job. Here is how the Commanders’ search looks:

Commanders’ Next HC To Report To Adam Peters

Ron Rivera wielded more power than his Commanders successor will possess within the organization. The since-fired head coach spent much of his time in Washington running the show; the team’s next HC will not.

The Commanders are planning to give their newly hired president of football operations, Adam Peters, the keys. Their to-be-determined head coach will report to Peters, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer. This will be a shift for the franchise, who gave Rivera personnel power during the final Dan Snyder years.

[RELATED: Ben Johnson Frontrunner For Commanders’ HC Job?]

While Peters follows Martin Mayhew as a Washington GM being hired from San Francisco, John Lynch‘s longtime lieutenant will be a more empowered figure with the NFC East franchise. After Washington spent 2020 without a GM, Rivera signed off on the Mayhew addition in 2021. While Mayhew held considerable power, Rivera was ultimately in charge. The dismissed HC has since said this setup is not ideal, and new owner Josh Harris had long been expected to bring forth a shift. Following Mayhew and Ran Carthon, Peters is the third Lynch-era 49ers exec to land a GM gig.

Some teams have both their head coach and GM report to ownership separately, while others use the owner-GM-HC workflow model. After rumblings of Harris seeking an organizational restructure, the Commanders can now be slotted in the latter category. Regarding this Peters-fronted restructuring, the new front office boss will evaluate the team’s personnel setup. This evaluation, however, will not include Commanders president Jason Wright, per Front Office Sports’ AJ Perez. Wright’s work will fall outside of Peters’ purview. Snyder hired Wright to head up the team’s business side in 2020.

Peters will have authority to determine the roles of Mayhew and VP of player personnel Marty Hurney. Both of these execs have been rumored to be on the outs, but no firings are known to have transpired yet. Peters and Mayhew worked together for nearly four years in San Francisco. The Peters hire, rather than the organization going with its other finalist (Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham), would seem to point to Mayhew staying in a different capacity.

Peters, who turned down the chance to interview for the Cardinals and Titans’ GM jobs last year, always loomed as a logical candidate. But he officially became a Commanders target in December, when former Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers — brought in by Harris as an advisor during this transition — asked ex-Vikings GM Rick Spielman if he would also help out, Breer adds. These two did prep work beginning around Week 16, with Harris wanting good background in the event he fired Rivera. Spielman came up with a 15-person list for the football ops job, and he and Myers whittled it down to the Peters-Cunningham contingent.

Spielman, whom the Vikings fired following the 2021 season, did not tell anyone who he was working for during this research effort, per Breer. The first round of interviews occurred at Harris’ Miami office. Co-owners Magic Johnson, Mitchell Rales and David Blitzer also spent extensive time with the candidates, with Breer adding the latter trio offered Harris input that led to the Peters decision. We will soon see how the Spielman- and Myers-led research effort turns out on the coaching front.

Commanders To Hire Adam Peters As GM

JANUARY 15: The Commanders are giving Peters a five-year contract, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. The seven-year 49ers exec will now play a lead role in the team finding a head coach to succeed Ron Rivera.

JANUARY 12: Not long after narrowing their search for a new general manager to two finalists, the Commanders have found the new leader of their front office. Washington is hiring Adam Peters as general manager, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes Peters will likely take on the title of president of football operations. Further reports from Dianna Russini of The Athletic and the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala name Peters the GM as well.

Regardless of the title he assumes, Peters will be a major member of the Commanders’ new organizational structure. After a strong tenure with the 49ers, he will take on an increased workload in the nation’s capital. Commanders owner Josh Harris assembled a search committee to find the team’s front office hires (both in terms of a head of football ops and, in all likelihood, a replacement for GM Martin Mayhew). The first step in that process has now taken place.

Peters was quickly named the favorite for a high-ranking Commanders position. He was among the first batch of candidates to receive an interview, and Washington moved quickly in narrowing down a list of finalists. Peters was joined by Bears AGM Ian Cunningham in receiving a second interview earlier this week, and the decision between the two has now been made rather rapidly. As Rapoport notes, one of Peters’ first tasks will be determining the future of Mayhew, who has been named as a hot seat occupant.

Head coach Ron Rivera was, as expected, dismissed on Black Monday. Mayhew likewise faces an uncertain future after three years serving as Washington’s GM. Harris made it clear the head of football operations posting would be filled before a new head coach would be brought in, and Peters will now be in place to assist in that effort.

The latter was a top GM candidate last year, but he rebuffed interest from the Cardinals and Titans. That allowed him to remain in San Francisco for one more year after joining the franchise in 2017. Peters was promoted to assistant general manager in 2021 as a confirmation of his status as a critical John Lynch lieutenant. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio confirms the 49ers attempted to retain Peters. Instead, he will move on.

Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo notes Lions OC Ben Johnson is now a key name to watch with respect to the Commanders’ upcoming coaching hire. Further reports have also tabbed Johnson as a top candidate for Washington to join with Peters in a new power structure. The 37-year-old is on the radar of numerous teams in need of a head coach, though, so the Commanders will have competition if they make an aggressive pursuit of him.

Peters – who also received GM interview requests from the Chargers and Raiders – will have a number of key decisions to make in the near future, but the Commanders are positioned with plenty of flexibility from a roster-building perspective. Washington is currently slated to lead the league in cap space, and the team owns the second overall pick in April’s draft. Peters will be a key voice in the Commanders’ re-worked front office when the new league year kicks off.