Commanders’ Dan Snyder pushed for Carson Wentz trade to mask his own off-field issues, per report

If Carson Wentz is actually wanted in Washington, it’s increasingly unclear who wants him. And not necessarily because the quarterback has been mercurial for the NFC East’s worst team. Days after singling out “quarterback” as the Commanders‘ biggest weakness, then backtracking and apologizing for the remark, coach Ron Rivera is now taking credit for leading the pursuit of Wentz in the offseason. Why? Because Thursday’s ESPN investigation into team owner Daniel Snyder conveyed that Snyder was the true orchestrater of the Wentz trade, partly as a means of masking his own off-field issues.

Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Tisha Thompson reported that other NFL owners want Snyder ousted for both his alleged workplace misconduct and failure to secure a new stadium for his franchise. Among the included anonymous accusations is the notion that Snyder remains involved in Washington’s day-to-day operations, even though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has cited Snyder’s reduced role as punishment for what the league deemed a “hostile workplace culture.” The chief evidence of Snyder’s allegedly defiant involvement was the Commanders’ trade for Wentz.

Current and former team executives say Snyder is still far more involved running the club than most realize, imploring football decision-makers last March to trade for … Carson Wentz — despite a deal he made with Goodell in July 2021, when he was also fined $10 million, to give up day-to-day management to his wife, Tanya. 

“It was 100 percent a Dan move,” anonymous Commanders staffers told ESPN of the Wentz acquisition. Snyder had previously told associates for years, ESPN reported, that acquiring a prominent signal-caller would protect him from repercussions related to other issues: “All my problems will be solved,” he allegedly said, “if I can just get a marquee quarterback.” Washington essentially dealt a pair of third-round draft picks to land Wentz from the Colts this spring, absorbing the QB’s full 2022 salary-cap hit of $28.3 million.

Rivera has since disputed Snyder’s reported push for Wentz, saying in a team statement that he, not Snyder, was behind the initial recruitment of the embattled former Eagles and Colts starter: “Prior to the start of free agency, I went to Dan and Tanya’s home,” Rivera said, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “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.”

Wentz, for what it’s worth, doesn’t seem publicly bothered by any of the hubbub. After Rivera’s controversial back-and-forth regarding his current opinion of the QB — a “mea culpa moment,” the coach called it, that also sparked backlash from former Commanders QB Alex Smith — Wentz downplayed the effect it’s had on him.

“Coach addressed it, handled it,” he told reporters this week. “(It’s) nothing, for me, that I’m overly concerned about it. Coach is a very straightforward, upfront guy, and he addressed it in the team meeting, which I thought was really cool, and what he meant by it all.”

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