PHOENIX — As league and team representatives arrived at the NFL’s annual meeting on Sunday, a sense that Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder is inching closer to finalizing a deal to sell the franchise followed.
But firm details of the potential transaction — including who is in line to take over the franchise and for how much — remain shrouded in secrecy, which sources told Front Office Sports can be attributed to how sensitive talks are at this point.
There was the expectation Snyder would sell among those interviewed at the last owners meeting outside Dallas in December, but two team executives said there’s hope that it will occur soon.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Dallas-based reporters on Monday that sale wouldn’t be finished during the meetings, which run through at least Tuesday.
There’s no formal agenda item at the league meetings, but there are privileged, owners-only sessions — where only owners are in the room — on Monday and Tuesday where it’s expected Snyder and the Commanders will be discussed, sources told FOS.
As the name indicates, what occurs during privileged sessions doesn’t typically become public. According to ProFootballTalk, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash urged owners to exercise restraint when it came to commenting about Snyder in the aftermath of Colts Owner Jim Irsay telling reporters at October’s owners’ meeting that there was “merit” to removing Snyder.
Commanders co-CEO Tanya Snyder is again representing the franchise at the meetings.
The air of secrecy goes beyond what will go down behind closed doors here.
The serious contenders for the Commanders are bound by confidentiality agreements — and they’ve been sticking to them. The team has also not commented about the process since it was announced in November that Snyders were exploring options that could result in a sale of all or part of the franchise.
The contenders include Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, and Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos.
Before the sale process began, there was serious consideration toward mounting an effort to remove Snyder. The onerous process has never been undertaken in NFL history, and ultimately, would require at least 24 owners to vote in favor of removing Snyder.
That effort was shelved after the November announcement was made.
While that process remains on hold, the second outside NFL investigation led by former chair of the SEC Mary Jo White remains open. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said before the Super Bowl in February that “no timeline” for White “to come to any conclusions.”
White’s investigation began in February 2022. The original focus was a harassment claim made against Snyder. Last April, it expanded to include allegations of financial irregularities, something federal investigators are also probing.
Snyder has denied wrongdoing on both.
Snyder has refused to be interviewed by White, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
A Stake in Chargers For Sale?
The sister of Los Angeles Chargers controlling owner Dean Spanos is reportedly selling nearly a quarter of the team she controls.
Dea Spanos Berberian has been locked in a legal battle with her siblings for more than three years. Dean Spanos, Michael Spanos, Alexis Spanos Ruhl, and Berberian each own 15%.
Sportico reported that Berberian is selling her personal share of the Chargers, along with her chunk of the family trust, which amounts to a collective 24% of the team.