Commanders' front-office changes show GM Adam Peters' fixer-upper plan

The Adam Peters organizational makeover project continues.

The Washington Commanders announced many front-office changes Tuesday, including the departure of senior vice president of football strategy Eugene Shen after only eight months, a new title for Doug Williams and the official hiring of various scouting department additions. Several moves coincide with earlier hires by the new general manager.

Recent rumors about further front-office moves centered on the future of the analytics group under Peters. Managing partner Josh Harris hired Shen midway through the 2023 season to bolster the analytics department, which was historically understaffed under previous ownership. The rookie NFL owner also sought fresh perspectives around the league’s trade deadline and with significant changes expected in the front office and coaching staff at season’s end. Washington traded defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young for future draft picks before the deadline.

Shen’s resume, which includes stints with the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars, enticed Harris. “Anytime I see things that might give us an edge, we try to take advantage of them,” Harris said at March’s NFL owners’ meeting. “The Eugene hire was exactly that.”

From a long-term perspective, adding a high-ranking, full-time executive seemed curious before determining the next general manager.

Harris hired former NFL general manager Rick Spielman days after Washington’s 4-13 campaign concluded and after relieving head coach/football operations lead Ron Rivera. However, Spielman entered as a short-time consultant to help Harris navigate a general manager search and contribute to a subsequent head coach search.


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Peters, a first-time GM, began retooling the executive leadership in January and the scouting departments following the draft, while the analytics group remained intact.

Then came the hiring of Brandon Sosna as senior vice president of football operations. The role meant Sosna, 31, would handle contract negotiations and salary-cap management. The official announcement also stated that the former Detroit Lions and USC staffer, now reporting to Peters, would oversee several football operation departments, including analytics, and “play a major role in strategy around roster construction.” That raised further questions about Shen’s role and influence in the new regime as a pre-Peters signing.

The Commanders stated on Tuesday: “After successfully supporting the transition to new ownership last season, Eugene Shen will be transitioning out of the Washington Commanders’ organization.” The statement included Shen is “in discussions to support” Harris’ other sports enterprises.

Other analytic department changes include Doug Drewry’s promotion to manager of football research and development and the hiring of Connor Nickol and Travis Ho as coaching analysts.

The previous senior vice president of football operations, Rob Rogers, remains with the organization as vice president of football operations. Sosna’s arrival cast doubt about the Rivera holdover’s future in the organization despite his significant role in Washington’s 20-plus free-agent signings. Now, Rogers’ presence allows Sosna flexibility in managing his many responsibilities. Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney, Washington’s top two personnel executives with Rivera, were previously re-assigned. Mayhew supported Peters in free agency and the draft as a senior personnel executive and adviser to the GM.

Williams’ title change — senior adviser to the GM — puts one of the franchise’s Super Bowl heroes back in the front office. Once a Washington senior vice president of player personnel, Williams was re-assigned to the organization’s business side as an adviser to team president Jason Wright. The Super Bowl XXII MVP is now listed as part of the Commanders’ executive management group with Peters, assistant general manager Lance Newmark, Sosna and Mayhew.

The new director of pro scouting, Chris White, spent the previous two seasons as the Chicago Bears’ assistant director of pro scouting. Former Ravens personnel executive David Blackburn was previously announced as director of pro personnel.

Scouts Dwaune Jones (national), Jack Quagliarello (pro), Dustin Regan (college) and senior director of team support and advancement Dylan Thompson were also officially announced. Sean DeBarbieri, Washington’s communications lead of football, was promoted to vice president of football communications.

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(Photo: Daniel Kucin Jr. / Associated Press)

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