ESPN dropped a bombshell article on the NFL, and in particular, on the Washington Commanders this morning. It detailed the multiple allegations and investigations against Dan Snyder and the team/organization that he runs. ESPN reporters covered a broad range of issues caused by Snyder, and one of them was his insistence that a new stadium and the right QB is a magic bullet that will win the fanbase back. Ron Rivera touted Carson Wentz after they traded for him, but this story says it was a Dan Snyder move all along.
Snyder has for years told people close to him that both a new stadium and a true franchise quarterback are silver bullets. “All my problems will be solved if I can just get a marquee quarterback,” he told an associate last winter. This past March, Washington traded second-, third-, and conditional third-round picks to the Colts for Carson Wentz, a quarterback who in 2017 appeared to be on the verge of being a superstar but whose fortunes have since sunk. It was a stiff price for a soft-market quarterback — all familiar marks of Snyder’s penchant for overpaying and negotiating against only himself. Sources familiar with the deal say that it was Snyder who pushed for Wentz — and Commanders football staffers have told people around the league as much. “It was 100% a Dan move,” says a source with knowledge of the inner workings of the deal. But in the team’s statement to ESPN, Rivera insisted that he had brought the idea of acquiring Wentz to Dan and Tanya, who supported it. “They love this game and this team,” Rivera said.
Hearing that Snyder hopes a marquee quarterback will chase away all his problems, an owner laughed: “Carson Wentz?”
The story of Washington’s pursuit for a franchise QB predates Dan Snyder, but his quixotic quest to obtain one has crippled many a head coach and general manager employed by him. Stories of Snyder overriding Mike Shanahan on both Donovan McNabb and Robert Griffin III are legendary in Washington folklore along with Snyder “coming in off his yacht” to make the 1st round QB pick resulting in Dwayne Haskins coming to Washington, and then the team having to trade back into the 1st after a scouting staff mutiny to pick Montez Sweat.
Ron Rivera came to Washington as part of a new, coach-centric model that would fix the culture and wash away the sins of former team president/GM Bruce Allen, and HC Jay Gruden. Rivera benched Haskins after 4 games, and then played the QB roulette that has been plaguing Washington coaches since Kirk Cousins left in free agency. Washington went with free agent NFL drifter Ryan Fitzpatrick after missing out on Matthew Stafford. This year they missed out on Russell Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo had shoulder surgery so they traded for Carson Wentz. Rivera and crew announced to the world early and often that Wentz was wanted here, and the QB the team needed to take the next step after a year with Taylor Heinicke taking most of the starting snaps.
Ron Rivera has had a rough week between the loss on Sunday, calling out the QB disparity in the NFC East on Monday, and then apologizing to his QB and team for those comments two days ago. This morning’s article, depending how much of the anonymously sourced statements and allegations you believe, paints a different picture. The picture that weathered Washington fans talk about and dread, but know is the truth. Dan Snyder is still in charge, he picks the QBs, and nothing will change until he sells the team or dies.
Ron Rivera statement: "Prior to the start of free agency, I went to Dan and Tanya’s home, and told them Carson Wentz was one of the quarterbacks at the top of our list and as always, the Snyders were supportive of our vision for building this roster."— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) October 13, 2022
“Prior to the start of free agency, I went to Dan and Tanya’s home, and told them Carson Wentz was one of the quarterbacks at the top of our list and as always, the Snyders were supportive of our vision for building this roster.”