Thad Sheely

NFL Staff Rumors: Commanders, Packers, Colts, Cardinals, Rams

The Commanders had the biggest offseason front office staff change of any other franchise as Josh Harris became the new team owner in Washington. There are plenty of issues that need to be addressed throughout the organization, and surely, Harris will be getting to all of them, eventually. Early this morning, though, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports gave some insight into what may be a top priority for the new executive.

While recent rumors surfaced claiming that another change to the team’s name was imminent, Jones reports that, for now, they will remain the Commanders, as a name change “isn’t being seriously considered at this time.” While getting back to a winning culture and reconnecting with the community are certainly among the top priorities, the biggest issue is reportedly finding a new stadium to play in.

The team recently hired Thad Sheely as a consultant in the endeavor. Sheely was instrumental “in the development of MetLife Stadium more than a decade ago.” With FedEx Field routinely being considered one of the league’s worst facilities, the brass has been working with local governments in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to discuss potential sites or public funding.

The organization would ideally like to have a site selected by the end of 2024, while the construction of a stadium that can “host major events like a Final Four and Super Bowl would take about four years” more. The team’s current lease at FedEx Field is active through 2026.

Here are some other recent staff updates from around the NFL:

  • The Packers announced the addition of Maureen Smith as the team’s new chief financial officer last month. Smith comes to the NFL from the MLS, where she most recently served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Minnesota United FC. Beginning her career as a CPA in public accounting, Smith now has “more than 20 years of diverse experience across the sports, healthcare, consulting, and finance industries.
  • The Colts made an effort at the end of August to replace the analytics value lost in John Park‘s departure for Dallas and George Li‘s departure for Carolina. Indianapolis hired Greg Starek as their new director of football analytics, according to Nate Atkins of the Indy Star. Starek joined the 49ers last year as a senior performance analyst after a career as a data scientist for the San Francisco Giants of the MLB. He’ll continue to carve out his space in the NFL in Indy.
  • The Cardinals brought in a new executive to focus on the business side of the team last month. According to Cardinals director of editorial content and senior writer Darren Urban, Jeremy Walls is that new executive, serving as the team’s new chief operating officer. Walls most recently spent the last several years in Miami with the Dolphins.
  • The Rams experienced a departure in their staff near the end of last month, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Former director of football affairs Jacques McClendon has left the team to join the WME Sports agency. McClendon will now be an agent working in the agency’s coaches and executives division.

Latest On Commanders Extension Talks, Front Office Moves

The Commanders have a number of players heading into contract years, including Montez Sweat and Chase Young. We previously heard that the team’s talks with Sweat were on hold following Josh Harris‘ purchase of the team, but Ron Rivera hinted that extension talks with impending free agents could soon resume.

[RELATED: Commanders’ Montez Sweat Extension Plans On Hold]

Speaking to reporters (including ESPN’s John Keim), the Commanders head coach revealed that the coaching staff and front office continues to prepare for negotiations as ownership settles.

“There’s a lot to do,” Rivera said. “To assume anything will happen immediately is unfair; they are still learning and understanding us. We’re still talking with them and trying to get things lined up and in order.”

While the two pass rushers are the most notable players with expiring contracts, the Commanders have other extension-worthy players. This grouping includes running back Antonio Gibson, cornerback Kendall Fuller, and wide receiver Curtis Samuel.

Among the team’s impending free agents, Sweat seems like the most likely to re-sign. Keim previously noted that the Commanders would like to extend the edge rusher. Young’s future with the team is in question after the organization declined the former second-overall pick’s fifth-year option. The Commanders will presumably let Young play out the 2023 campaign before deciding how to proceed.

While the team may be taking their time with player extensions, the Commanders have been busy adding to their front office. With Harris officially taking over the organization, the owner has made his first splash, hiring Craig Fischer as CFO (per Nicki Jhabvala and Mark Maske of the Washington Post). Meanwhile, former Atlanta Hawks COO/MetLife Stadium visionary Thad Sheely has been brought on as a consultant, per Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Jhabvala adds (on Twitter) that Sheely has been brought in to advise “on real estate and stadium matters.”