Josh Harris

Jayden Daniels Latest: Commanders, Kingsbury, Harris, Raiders, Visit, Weight

Jayden Daniels remains the favorite to be chosen second overall. The Commanders hold that pick, and they hosted the 2023 Heisman winner — at the same time as a few other quarterbacks — just before the deadline for “30” visits to be conducted. While the LSU and Arizona State product does not have much of a say in where he goes, rumors still point to him preferring another team.

Daniels would “love” to see the Raiders draft him, two GMs told the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora. During an interview with ESPN colleague Pat McAfee, Adam Schefter noted Daniels has had interest in playing elsewhere from the outset of the pre-draft process. Considering his past with Raiders HC Antonio Pierce and the AFC West team not doing a good job of making it a secret it would want to reunite the two, it is unsurprising Daniels would be more interested in playing in Las Vegas than Washington.

[RELATED: How Will Raiders Proceed At QB In Draft?]

In place since the 1930s, the draft system obviously does not cater to players’ wishes. The Raiders are believed to have asked OC candidates about working with Daniels, but that came months ago. As of this week, a Raiders move up from No. 13 into Daniels territory — quite possibly as high as No. 2 — was viewed as impossible. It is also not known if GM Tom Telesco feels as strongly as Pierce does about trading up for a QB, adding more intrigue to a pre-draft process that has featured little known beyond the Bears’ likely Caleb Williams pick.

New Washington OC Kliff Kingsbury is believed to favor Daniels, La Canfora adds, who impressed more as a runner than Kyler Murray did in college. Daniels is coming off an 1,143-yard rushing season, and his improvement as a passer (40 TDs, four INTs last season) at LSU — while targeting the likes of Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas — has rocketed the slender prospect up the board. On the slender subject, however, Daniels’ weight has come up frequently during the draft run-up.

Daniels played at 185 during the 2021 season at Arizona State, a scout told’s Tom Pelissero. He weighed in at 210 pounds this offseason, after having bulked up some following his transfer. Another scout told The Athletic’s Dan Pompei (subscription required) that Daniels was at 181 with the Sun Devils and played in the 190s at LSU — before ballooning to 210 this offseason.

This issue did not limit the talented QB at LSU, and some NFL coaches view Daniels as a better prospect than even Williams. But Daniels playing south of 200 before adding offseason weight calls into question how big he will be during his rookie season. Considering his playing style — one NFC coordinator told Pelissero that Daniels takes hits like Anthony Richardson, who is 244 pounds — this not an insignificant concern for teams ahead of the draft.

Pivoting back to the Washington side here, Daniels’ camp did not expect (via Schefter) the QB’s visit to come at the same time Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix Jr. met with the team. Teams generally do not gather QB prospects as a group for “30” visits, staggering them to gain better looks at passers. Considering Washington holds the No. 2 overall pick and is on the cusp of drafting a passer in the top 10 for the first time since trading up for Robert Griffin III in 2012, the team’s group gathering was a bit surprising.

The Commanders’ new regime took shape this offseason, with Josh Harris hiring Adam Peters to run football operations and Dan Quinn to coach the team. In the new owner’s first offseason, however, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio indicates the Dan Snyder successor has been more involved in the pre-draft process than expected.

Owner involvement — as Washington fans know well — is not too uncommon in the NFL, though it is usually a concern when ownership overreaches as football personnel prepare for major decisions. Harris is believed to have made his stance known about trading both Montez Sweat and Chase Young at last year’s deadline, when the coaching staff did not want to move Sweat. It will obviously be interesting to see how much Harris — who has extensive experience in an ownership role due to his work with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils — impacts how the Commanders proceed next week.

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,’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.

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’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 Request Will McClay Interview; Panthers Interested In Cowboys Exec

Will McClay has been with the Cowboys for over 20 years, coming up through the scouting ranks en route to holding a prominent position in the NFC East franchise’s front office. The veteran exec has been selective about GM interviews, but extensive interest has also eluded him in recent years. That looks to be changing.

In addition to the Chargers’ request to interview the Cowboys’ player personnel VP, the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins notes the Commanders have sent in an interview summons. The Panthers also have McClay on their GM radar, per’s Albert Breer, though no request has come in yet. That could be telling, considering how many requests Carolina already has out.

Based on McClay’s offseason history and his role in Dallas, it will be difficult to pry him from the Jerry– and Stephen Jones-led front office. McClay has not interviewed for a GM job in the 2020s, and he turned down requests from the Texans and Lions — and potentially other clubs — during the late 2010s. NFL teams have been aware of McClay’s impact for a while, but it looks like it will take a special offer to disrupt his current situation.

The Cowboys promoted McClay, 57, to current post in 2017. He has made an integral impact in Dallas, which has enjoyed great success with first-round picks over the past decade and change. Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb represent the latest such investments to hit big, but the Cowboys are still benefiting from the Tyron Smith (2011) and Zack Martin (2014) selections. Although the Joneses have final say, with Jerry Jones operating as the team’s nominal GM for decades, McClay holds considerable responsibility with the organization.

“I realize what my role and my structure is, what we do here,” McClay said in 2022. “I feel good about what we are doing. That is the job I am happy with now. If an opportunity comes up that makes sense, sure I will look at it. But I am happy where I am now. I am happy with the job, the role and how we do things.”

It will be interesting to see if McClay takes the Los Angeles or Washington meetings. The Commanders have kept GM Martin Mayhew on, along with executive VP Marty Hurney. The team is believed to be looking for a director of football operations-type hire. We heard recently the Commanders’ new ownership was interested in a football ops boss to oversee a GM, making it possible Mayhew and/or Hurney could stay on despite Ron Rivera‘s firing. The interviews for this new position are taking place at Josh Harris‘ home, per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala.

Carolina’s situation, with David Tepper‘s reputation taking a slew of hits, would seem unlikely to be the one that pulls McClay out of Dallas. The Panthers also have already reached out to a number of candidates to replace Scott Fitterer.

Staff Rumors: Commanders, Smith, Falcons, Bears, Pierce, Raiders, Giants

Among head coaches, Ron Rivera resides as the only true lock to be fired following Week 18. The Commanders‘ new ownership injects mystery into the upcoming search. Josh Harris has been rumored to be intrigued by a setup in which a football operations president-type figure oversees a GM and head coach, and’s Albert Breer further points to the owner being unlikely to hand the keys to a high-powered HC. Like Bill Belichick, Breer considers Jim Harbaugh an unlikely candidate in Washington. It is not known if Belichick would require personnel control if he ends up elsewhere, but Harbaugh having the leverage of more Michigan extension offers, it is expected the hard-edged HC would need significant input on the personnel front if he were to return to the NFL. So far, the Chargers have been the team most closely linked to luring him back.

Additionally, Breer notes Harris is intrigued by how the Eagles and Ravens’ power structures are set up. The Commanders hired ex-Ravens analytics staffer Eugene Shen as senior VP of football strategy in the fall. While the Eagles lost four staffers to assistant GM roles in 2022, the Ravens have a GM candidate in player personnel director Joe Hortiz. Baltimore’s OC-DC tandem — Todd Monken and Mike Macdonald — is expected to generate HC interest as well.

Going into Week 18, here is the latest from staffs around the NFL:

  • With the Falcons on the doorstep of a third straight 7-10 season, Arthur Smith‘s job status has come up frequently. Vacillating back and forth between being fired or becoming the rare HC to be given a fourth year despite three straight losing seasons, Smith was not exactly given a vote of confidence by Arthur Blank. But the longtime Falcons owner is not believed to be actively seeking changes, per Breer, making it sound like the hope is for Smith and GM Terry Fontenot to show enough to stay on. A one-sided loss to the Saints may well change Blank’s mind. The Falcons can win the NFC South by beating the Saints and the Buccaneers — who also have a coach on the hot seat — losing to the Panthers.
  • Ryan Poles is believed to have a good relationship with new Bears president Kevin Warren, being expected to stay on for a third year as GM. Prior to the Bears‘ rout of the Falcons, Matt Eberflus was linked to being in good standing for a third HC season. While expecting both to stay, Breer notes neither Bears power broker has been assured of a return. Warren has been a wild card in this scenario since he was hired, and the former Big Ten commissioner did not confirm publicly when asked Friday (via the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley) if Eberflus would be retained. Eberflus is 10-23 as Bears HC, but the team — which has a rather important quarterback decision to make soon — is 7-5 over its past 12.
  • Raiders leaders Davante Adams, Maxx Crosby and Josh Jacobs would back the retention of interim HC Antonio Pierce, but Mark Davis is believed to be aiming higher. After all, Pierce — who resigned his two-year post as Arizona State DC in 2022 — has far less experience than Raiders DC Patrick Graham. But Pierce’s knowledge of the Raiders’ culture and history does appeal to Davis, Paul Gutierrez of writes, noting these factors matter considerably to the second-generation owner. No team has bumped an interim leader to the full-time post since the Jaguars elevated Doug Marrone in 2017.
  • Giants running backs coach Jeff Nixon is set for a responsibility jump; it will come at the college level. Syracuse hired Nixon as its offensive coordinator Friday. Nixon was in his first season as Giants RBs coach; he had served under Matt Rhule at Baylor and with the Panthers. The Giants hired Nixon last year to replace DeAndre Smith, who left to take the same position with the Colts.

Coaching/Front Office Notes: Commanders, Moore, Desai, Eagles, Evero, Jets

Ron Rivera almost definitely has one more game remaining as Commanders HC. While Martin Mayhew‘s Washington GM future may also consist of just one more contest, that is a bit less certain. Mayhew’s status aside, new owner Josh Harris is expected to consider updating the team’s power structure. Dan Snyder‘s successor will likely look into adding a president of football operations to oversee both the GM and HC,’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero indicate.

Washington has adjusted its power structure on multiple occasions over the past several years. Rivera held personnel power essentially by himself in 2020, with the franchise waiting until 2021 to bring in a GM (Mayhew). Rivera arrived after Bruce Allen‘s 10-year tenure as team president. Allen’s final years did not feature a GM, as the franchise fired Scot McCloughan after two years in the role. The Harris-owned 76ers have Daryl Morey overseeing GM Elton Brand and HC Nick Nurse, though many NFL teams give GMs full control. If the Commanders are to hire both a GM and an executive to oversee that position, top GM candidates will naturally be less interested in the job. Harris is not believed to be interested in giving a head coach full autonomy.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Signs the Eagles would demote DC Sean Desai were evident weeks before Nick Sirianni made the call. Sirianni chipped away at Desai’s authority by removing his final say of third-down game planning, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. This occurred between the Eagles’ losses to the 49ers and Cowboys, per McLane, who adds Desai is planning to finish out the season with Philadelphia. The team’s switch to Patricia has not moved the needle, as the Eagles endured an ugly loss to the Cardinals — one that likely cost the team the NFC East title. The Eagles, who were initially expecting to retain Jonathan Gannon for a third season, figure to be in the market for a new DC in the offseason.
  • Defensive coordinator on a bad team for a second straight season, Ejiro Evero does not appear to have seen his stock dinged much by the Panthers‘ 2023 performance. After we heard an arrangement in which the Panthers retain Evero as DC under a new coach is likely to be considered, Rapoport and Pelissero note Evero should be expected to receive an HC interview with the team. Of course, David Tepper has been again linked to another pursuit of an offense-oriented coach. Tepper’s uninspiring 2023, which looks to have ended with the owner tossing a drink at a fan in Jacksonville, could certainly have an impact on the caliber of candidates interested in the Carolina job. High-end option Ben Johnson already turned down the team in 2023, but the Lions’ OC is again in the Panthers’ sights.
  • The Chargers do not look to be interested in either of their coordinators for the HC job. Despite previously being an HC interviewee, Bolts OC Kellen Moore is unlikely to be considered for the organization’s top coaching job, according to The Athletic’s Daniel Popper (subscription required). Justin Herbert failed to take notable steps forward under the ex-Cowboys play-caller, who admittedly dealt with injury trouble — along with center Corey Linsley‘s early-season placement on the reserve/NFI list — in his first season in Los Angeles. It will be interesting to see if Moore — hired within a day after his Cowboys exit — will land another OC gig for 2024.
  • The Jets are giving their HC and GM a mulligan for 2023, but Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline offers that staff changes should still be likely to commence. O-line coach Keith Carter‘s job appears in jeopardy, per Pauline, who adds the ex-Titans O-line coach’s hire raised eyebrows at the Senior Bowl last year. Pro Football Focus ranks the Jets’ O-line 32nd, though it has seen injuries — including Alijah Vera-Tucker‘s season-ending malady in October — make a significant impact. Robert Saleh will be on the hot seat in 2024, and while Nathaniel Hackett is expected to stay, one of his lieutenants may not survive this disappointing season.

Bill Belichick Not Aiming To Leave Patriots?

The Patriots’ three remaining games are expected to double as the final three contests of the Bill Belichick era in New England. Robert Kraft is believed to have made a decision to move on from the legendary HC. The process may soon become complicated.

With the Patriots holding Belichick’s rights through 2024, via the contract extension he agreed to earlier this year, they will hope to trade the 24-year HC and pick up an asset. Should the Pats travel down that road, the timeline could become an issue for both the team and Belichick.

As it stands now, however, Belichick is not seeking a divorce. The six-time Super Bowl-winning HC wants to stay in New England, according to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. Belichick-Kraft tension has simmered for years, dating back to the end of the Tom Brady era, and it would not exactly be surprising to see the parties’ working relationship end badly.

Belichick, 71, does not intend to resign, Volin adds, which will put some pressure on Kraft to find a trade partner. Kraft’s attempt at an amicable solution could drag well into the offseason, which would hamstring Belichick. If the process stalls, teams will move to other candidates during the frenzied winter hiring period. Each of the five teams seeking HCs this year had hires in place a day after Super Bowl LVII. The Patriots not finding a taker early also would limit their search for a Belichick replacement, though potential heir apparent Jerod Mayo‘s presence provides some protection for the team.

Going into the season, the Pats had hoped Belichick would return in 2024 before a potential baton pass to Mayo could take place. The Pats’ struggles look to have changed the plan, and a Belichick exit has been assumed for weeks. That said, the moving parts here could potentially force Kraft to fire Belichick in what would likely be labeled as a mutual parting. That would give the storied sideline presence free rein to pursue another job, and Volin reiterates the NFL’s second-winningest coach does not intend to retire after this season.

The Patriots have hit a wall with Belichick in place as their HC and de facto GM. While the historically successful defensive tactician has propped up the Patriots on that side of the ball, despite Matt Judon and Christian Gonzalez‘s early-season injuries, New England’s offense is once again wallowing near the NFL’s basement. The team benched Mac Jones for 2022 fourth-rounder Bailey Zappe, whose camp struggles had led to him being waived in August. The Pats’ JuJu Smith-Schuster signing has not produced much of consequence, with the team outfitting Jones and Zappe with a bottom-tier skill-position corps. If Belichick is to stay, there would likely be changes to the team’s power structure — one that has lost key personnel bastions Nick Caserio and Dave Ziegler over the past three years. Would Kraft sign off on another Belichick-run offseason?

It will be interesting to see if Kraft would be amenable to Belichick staying and becoming the rare lame-duck coach, as his contract is believed to expire after the 2024 season. The deal, per Volin, is believed to be worth at least $25MM, which is at or near the top of the HC ranks. No trade coming to pass would leave the Pats on the hook for that payout, though offset language from a Belichick contract elsewhere would help New England here. Kraft effectively issued a playoff mandate this offseason. For Belichick to fall well short of that goal and be retained would surprise, especially given the rumors that have emerged this season.

While a first-rounder was floated as possible Belichick compensation, Volin classifies that as highly unlikely. In addition to Belichick not wanting his new team to send the Patriots a valuable asset for his services, he is coming off back-to-back unremarkable years and is much older than anyone who has ever been hired as a head coach throughout NFL history. The Buccaneers made Bruce Arians the oldest HC hired; he was 66 at the time. Belichick will turn 72 in April.

Belichick’s extensive past with personnel power might also interfere with a team’s plans; that arrangement, should he still want such control, may be an issue for the Chargers. The Commanders are also not expected to hand over full control to their next HC, Albert Breer of notes. Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew are expected to be fired at season’s end, and while Washington has not employed a particularly successful coach since Joe Gibbs‘ second stint, new owner Josh Harris is not planning to appeal to Belichick by offering full personnel control.

The easiest way for the Patriots to close this chapter would be a mutual parting (firing) at season’s end. If no suitable trade offer for Belichick emerges, that may be where this ends. For now, the Kraft-Belichick era persists. How much longer will it last?

Ron Rivera, Jack Del Rio Wanted Commanders To Retain Montez Sweat

As the Commanders completed what looked on the surface to be a reluctant sell-off at the trade deadline, Ron Rivera said all parties were onboard with the trades of Montez Sweat and Chase Young. A virtual meeting with new owner Josh Harris appears to have provided the final push for the Commanders to trade their defensive ends, though other factors were part of the equation.

It looks like the Washington coaching staff was readier to trade Young than Sweat. Rivera, DC Jack Del Rio and others wanted to make it past the deadline with Sweat still on the roster, according to’s John Keim and Jeremy Fowler. But two second-round offers came in for the contract-year edge rusher — from the Bears and Falcons — leading the team to complete the first of its two deadline-day deals.

Following the Commanders’ Week 8 loss to the Eagles, calls came in on the DEs and other players, per Fowler and Keim. While the Commanders had done legwork on trades involving Sweat and Young for more than a week going into the deadline, it was not known until hours before the Oct. 31 trade endpoint how Harris felt.

The Dan Snyder successor expressed an openness to trade the defensive ends and acquire draft capital, and while Fowler and Keim do not describe the meeting as Harris mandating both be traded, the owner leaning in that direction looks to have provided the biggest difference in Washington making the surprising call to trade both Sweat and Young. Both players were gone hours after the meeting.

Young’s propensity to freelance within Del Rio’s scheme looks to have made the Commanders more amenable to trading the former No. 2 overall pick, and the team dropped its asking price to move on. It took only a third-round compensatory pick for the 49ers to acquire the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Sweat had been more consistent, but with the Commanders expecting both players to cost near-top-market money, they decided to cut bait. As should be expected, the extensions given to Jonathan Allen (in 2021) and Daron Payne (in March) played a role, along with the defensive line’s early-season struggles, in the Commanders determining they would not be in position to extend Sweat or Young.

Rivera wanting to keep his top sack artist in the fold makes sense, as he entered this season on a hot seat. The fourth-year Washington HC had hoped to retain enough pieces to salvage this season, a sentiment some in the front office shared as well; losing Sweat, who has since signed a high-end Bears extension, did not help matters. The 2019 first-round pick is closing in on his first double-digit sack season, collecting 6.5 of his nine QB drops in Washington. Without Sweat and Young, the Commanders are close to starting over at defensive end.

While Washington had regressed on defense even with its two walk-year sack artists, the team has cratered on that side of the ball without them. The Commanders have allowed back-to-back 45-point games, the second coming after Rivera — after a morning conversation with Harris — fired Del Rio and defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer.

Harris and Rivera have retained a solid relationship, per ESPN, but the writing has been on the wall for the well-liked sideline bastion for a while. The Commanders are also more likely than not to clean house in the front office, with ex-Panthers execs Marty Hurney and Eric Stokes joining GM Martin Mayhew as staffers in play to follow Rivera in being ousted. It is unknown what type of coach and leadership structure Harris will prefer in 2024, but he effectively asked a lame-duck staff to trade draft capital it most likely will not be in position to use come April.

Rivera, 61, is on track to be fired by a new owner for a second time. David Tepper canned the former NFC champion HC during the 2019 season, the Panthers owner’s second on the job. This has been Mayhew’s second crack at a GM job. The former Washington Super Bowl-winning cornerback, who is 58, served as Lions GM from 2008-15.

Commanders Could Part Ways With GM Martin Mayhew

It appears to be a foregone conclusion that the Commanders will fire head coach Ron Rivera at season’s end. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports echoes that sentiment and adds that general manager Martin Mayhew could also be on the chopping block.

That is hardly surprising. While it made sense for new owner Josh Harris, who purchased the club in July, to give the power brokers that he inherited a fair evaluation period and to avoid a major shakeup less than two months before the start of the 2023 regular season, it likewise stands to reason that Harris would want to start afresh with his own choices at the HC and GM positions (especially in the wake of what is shaping up to be a sub-.500 campaign).

Our own Sam Robinson recently suggested as much, and a source told Tony Pauline of that Harris wants to “get rid of the Daniel Snyder stench,” which would entail a total purge of both the front office and coaching staff. Harris, who is also the managing partner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, has reportedly expressed an interest in structuring the Commanders like an NBA team and has consulted with Sixers GM Elton Brand on the matter. Such a setup would apparently include, among other things, the possibility of giving the players a say in decision-making.

Mayhew, 58, enjoyed a long stint as the Lions’ general manager from 2008-15 and subsequently held high-level executive positions with the Giants and 49ers before joining Washington in 2021 (one year after Rivera). Despite Mayhew’s GM title, Rivera has always had final say over personnel matters, and Jones suggests that if Mayhew is relieved of his duties after the season, Harris may opt for a hierarchy wherein the head coach reports to the general manager, who in turn reports to ownership.

The good news for Commanders fans is that the presence of Harris, along with a healthy salary cap situation and an ample supply of draft capital, have made the team’s HC and GM posts very desirable. As one executive told Jones, “everyone’s shooting for Washington,” and that should allow Harris to choose from the best available talent in the upcoming hiring cycle. Although Jones does not say so, it could also mean that Washington’s faith in second-year quarterback Sam Howell is shared by top head coach and general manager candidates.

There are several additional notes from the above reports worth passing along. We already knew that Harris drove the recent deadline trades of defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young, and that the club dropped its asking price on Young before sending him to the 49ers. According to Pauline, the team was especially motivated to move Young because it had grown weary of his propensity to improvise and freelance rather than operate within the defensive scheme.

With respect to the Commanders’ possible GM search, Jones says that an analytically-minded candidate could be particularly appealing to Harris. Indeed, as ESPN’s Seth Walder writes in a thread on X, it had been speculated that Harris would want more of a quantitative approach to personnel decisions, and to that end, the team has hired Eugene Shen as its Senior VP of Football Strategy.

Shen, who has previously worked for the Ravens and Dolphins and who served as the Jaguars’ VP of Football Analytics before leaving the team in 2022 to work in finance, will oversee all analytics and software development on the football side of the operation.

Latest On Commanders HC Ron Rivera

NOVEMBER 24: Corroborating Rapoport’s report from Thursday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes Rivera is likely safe for the remainder of the 2023 season. That update comes as little surprise in the wake of defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio being let go in a move which Rivera appears to have recommended. Still, signficant progress will likely need to be made down the stretch for the Commanders’ evaluation to result in anything but a new head coach taking the reins relatively soon.

NOVEMBER 23: While today’s contest against the Cowboys could carry signficant sway in the decision on Rivera’s future, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirms an in-season coaching change “is not the team’s desire.” He adds that Harris and Rivera have a strong working relationship, but that an evaluation will be conducted no later than after the conclusion of the regular season. While Rivera may be safe past the bye week barring further underwhelming performances, signs therefore continue to point to this season being his last in the nation’s capital.

NOVEMBER 22: With the Commanders trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young on deadline day, Ron Rivera‘s 2024 fate appeared sealed. The team won its first game without the two former first-round defensive ends but has since lost back-to-back contests, dropping to 4-7. The well-liked HC looks to be in the final weeks as the Commanders’ leader.

Some in the Washington building have wondered if Rivera will be canned during the team’s Week 14 bye, per’s Jeremy Fowler. The Commanders face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and then match up with the Dolphins in Week 13. Starting at a potential 4-9 mark going into the bye, Washington could look into an early firing. The Commanders are coming off an upset loss to the Giants, committing six turnovers in defeat.

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That said, Fowler adds some around the league would lean toward new owner Josh Harris not making changes during his first season in charge. Ownership had not applied early-season pressure on Rivera, with Harris praising the veteran HC. But the long-term thinking points to a change. The timing here may be ultimately inconsequential. Whether the firing takes place in December or January, Rivera’s time as Commanders HC will likely wrap after four seasons. Two more losses will ensure the former Super Bowl HC will not post a winning season in four years at the helm.

Should Rivera be fired, it will mark the second time a new owner will have pulled the trigger on an ouster. If Rivera is axed during the upcoming Commanders bye, it will remind of the Panthers’ move four years ago. David Tepper officially became an NFL owner in May 2018, and while he gave Rivera that season, walking papers emerged 12 games into the 2019 slate — one that involved Cam Newton going down in Week 2 with a foot injury. Rivera, 61, is on track to be available again in 2024.

The Commanders have two-time HC Jack Del Rio and an interview circuit mainstay — OC Eric Bieniemy — on staff as interim options, in the event Harris decides to cut bait early. The Dan Snyder successor took over in August, and the Philadelphia 76ers owner — whose NBA franchise conducted a radical rebuild aimed around stockpiling draft assets during the 2010s — is believed to have played the lead role in driving the Commanders to not stop at just trading Sweat. The owner instructed his football ops staff to explore trading both D-ends. Less than an hour before the deadline, the 49ers acquired Young for only a third-round compensatory pick. This has certainly hurt Washington’s defense, though Del Rio’s unit was struggling on the whole before the trades.

Rivera did lead Washington to the playoffs in 2020, and despite being down to in-season pickup Taylor Heinicke, the team tested the eventual champion Buccaneers in the wild-card round. Though, Washington only went 7-9 — Rivera’s second sub-.500 playoff season, following a 7-8-1 2014 campaign in Charlotte. Washington needed Heinicke throughout the 2021 season, losing starter Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1. The team’s aggressive 2022 QB approach did not yield its top-tier targets, producing Carson Wentz. The Commanders bailed on Wentz after one injury-truncated season. Rather than make another big push for a veteran or attempt to draft a passer in Round 1, the Commanders committed to 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell.

It is unclear if Howell will definitively be back under center in 2024, though the North Carolina product is the NFL passing yardage leader. Howell is the only QB over 3,000 yards (3,038) presently. But he will almost definitely have a new head coach. With Harris also not in place yet when Bieniemy was hired, it is certainly possible the Commanders will have a new play-caller in 2024 as well.