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Black Monday: Harris Takes Next Steps in Commanders Overhaul

  • Ron Rivera was fired after compiling a 26-40-1 record and a playoff appearance.
  • The Commanders finished 4-13 and secured the No. 2 pick in April’s NFL Draft.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Harris hit the reset button Monday, more than five months after his ownership group seized control of the Washington Commanders with a record $6.05 billion purchase. 

Head coach Ron Rivera was fired, a search team for both his replacement and the head of football operations was announced, and Harris told reporters at the team’s headquarters there were more changes ahead. 

“As you can see, we’re a little busy,” Harris quipped when asked if the Commanders’ name would be among tweaks to the team. “We are picking a new head of the front office, a new coach, and we are busy working on the next improvements to our stadium. Then, obviously, our new home and thinking about that.”

Harris and his 20 co-owners didn’t officially take over the team until July, days before the start of training camp. Sources told Front Office Sports over the summer that the 2023 season would be used to evaluate the entire organization, including the front office and coaching ranks.

In the four seasons since then-owner Dan Snyder hired Rivera—amid increased scrutiny over toxic workplace issues that eventually threatened Snyder’s grasp of the team—the now-former coach compiled a 26-40-1 record with one playoff appearance. The team finished 4-13, a mark that ensured the Commanders would secure the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on April 24. 

“This was not a fun season for the ownership group,” said Harris, whose priority is now in hiring the head of football operations—duties shared among Rivera, GM Martin Mayhew, and executive VP Marty Hurney—before selecting a head coach.

It became clear Monday that Harris and others in ownership had a plan, as they announced that former Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers and former Vikings GM Rick Spielman would advise the search for both a new head coach and a head of football operations. The Commanders requested to interview several current assistants and front-office employees with other teams on Monday. 

Black Monday Rewind

At midnight, the Atlanta Falcons were the first team to dump their coach following Sunday’s end to the regular season. Arthur Smith exited the Falcons with a 21-30 record over three seasons. Also:

  • Carolina Panthers: After the midseason firing of Frank Reich, the team parted ways with GM Scott Fitterer. 
  • Los Angeles Chargers: Like the Panthers, the Bolts are in the market for a new head coach and GM after the respective December firings of Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco. 
  • New England Patriots: As of Monday afternoon, there wasn’t an update on Bill Belichick’s future as head coach. He’s expected to meet with owner Robert Kraft.
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