New Commanders Owner Heavily Involved in Draft Decisions: Report

Josh Harris

Getty Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris.

The Washington Commanders have a lot of new people making decisions for the franchise heading into the 2024 NFL draft.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, new owner Josh Harris taking on a bigger role in draft-day decisions has come as a surprise to some on the inside.

“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Harris has been more involved than people expected him to be,” Florio wrote. “The truth is that most owners are more involved than media and fans realize. They typically like to be able to blame bad decisions on others, in the same way that the owners collectively use Commissioner Roger Goodell as a highly-compensated pin cushion.”

In 2023, Harris led a group of investors that included NBA legend Magic Johnson that purchased the Commanders from Dan Snyder for a reported $6.05 billion.

Josh Harris: Good at Investments, Bad at Winning

Harris has been one of the premiere investors in the world when it comes to professional sports over the last decade-plus, making lucrative deals that have netted himself and his investment groups billions of dollars.

in 2011, Harris led a group that purchased the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers in 2011 for $280 million. Forbes valued the 76ers at $4.3 billion in 2023.

In 2013, Harris led another group that purchased the NHL’s New Jersey Devils for $320 million. Forbes valued the Devils at $1.5 billion in 2023.

In 2015, Harris paid $149 million for a controlling stake in Premier League soccer club Crystal Palace F.C. Forbes valued Crystal Palace at $806 million in 2023. Harris also owns NASCAR’s Joe Gibbs Racing Team.

Since Harris purchased them, none of the teams he owns have ever eeven played for a championship and he famously oversaw “The Process” with the 76ers — a three-year period in which the team tanked on purpose to secure high draft picks.

Why 2024 NFL draft could define Commanders

The obvious reason the 2024 NFL draft is so important for the Commander? They own the No. 2 overall pick after going 4-13 in 2023.

The Commanders will almost certainly take a quarterback with that pick — likely either LSU’s Jayden Daniels or North Carolina’s Drake Maye. The Commanders came under fire last week for hosting four quarterbacks at once — Daniels, Maye, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

“How subtle will Harris be when it comes to which of the top quarterback prospects he prefers?” Florio wrote. “Our best explanation for this week’s four-quarterback square dance was that they visited on a day that Harris was available to be there for the meetings. Harris met with quarterbacks at the Scouting Combine. Harris realizes the importance of the decision his team is about to make.

“Ultimately, it’s his team. So it’s his decision. He’ll develop a preference. It will be impossible for him to keep it quiet. Once those around him sense what it is, that’s the direction in which they’ll go.”

Along with Harris reportedly stepping into the decision-making process, the Commanders also have a new head coach in former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator and Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and a new general manager in Adam Peters, who came over from his spot as assistant general manager with the San Francisco 49ers.

Florio believes that mix could compromise the decision-making process.

“Whether the owner realizes it or not, his employees are paying attention to everything he says, every question he asks, every move he makes,” Florio wrote. “When you’re a multi-billionaire and the person who ultimately runs the team, anyone with any desire to remain employed by you will be searching for any clues as to what will make you happy.”

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