Wednesday September 27, 2023

NFL Finance Committee Meets as Commanders Sale Progresses

  • Josh Harris' $6.05B deal to purchase the Commanders has been reviewed by the NFL for weeks.
  • The committee is typically the final stop before a full ownership vote is scheduled.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Typically, the NFL finance committee meeting today is perfunctory.

Each year, the aim is to have all the major items handled ahead of the March owners’ meetings, with only a few issues that haven’t been solved left to mull over in May. But this regularly scheduled meeting before the main meeting in two weeks could clarify the Washington Commanders’ immediate future. 

Front Office Sports previously reported that the NFL had treated the $6.05 billion bid by a group led by Josh Harris as a done deal — even as those close to the Commanders have said the agreement remains tentative. 

If this were a normal sale, Harris’ application would have had to be in around March for the finance committee made up of NFL owners to schedule a vote for the main owners meeting. 

The application — accompanied by a $25,000 check — kicks off the vetting process, which includes the verification of financials and criminal background checks for the potential controlling owner and all the partners of an ownership group. 

An NFL spokesperson declined to comment when asked Tuesday if Harris’ application is in. A Harris spokesperson and one for the Commanders did the same.

But could a full ownership vote be scheduled during today’s meeting? Break out that shrug emoji because those intimately involved have remained mum. 

Multiple sources told FOS that Harris is expected to take over control of the team in early June. That would mean a vote would have to occur in Minnesota at the main owners’ meetings that run May 22-24. 

“Seems like things are moving forward with Harris,” one source with knowledge of negotiations told FOS. 

Three-quarters (24 or more owners) are needed to approve a new owner, and it takes about a week for all the money to be transferred over before the sale becomes official.

While not spelled out in the NFL Constitution and Bylaws, this odd Commanders’ sale could be treated as an incomplete transaction. With the backing of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the preliminary agreement could be vetted as an official application, one source told FOS. 

That would mean Harris and his more than a dozen limited partners have been thoroughly vetted by this point. The fact that The Washington Post reported last month that the NFL asked Harris’ group to revise some “minor issues” in their proposal certainly lends credence to the incomplete transaction approach. 

Exactly why the sale has gone this path isn’t clear. However, the team is still subject to multiple investigations — including one led by former SEC chief Mary Jo White on behalf of the NFL — and now, the attorneys general in California and New York are investigating the NFL, in part for the way the league handled the Commanders toxic workplace allegations. 

Sources said some things are clear: Snyder is selling, Harris is in line to add to his sports empire that already includes co-owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, and a new era isn’t far off for the once-storied franchise near the nation’s capital.

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