Russell: Dan Snyder not interfering in Redskins free agency

Chris Lingebach
March 16, 2020 - 12:19 pm

With the start of NFL free agency looming, Redskins owner Dan Snyder is staying out of Ron Rivera's way when it comes to football decisions, Chris Russell reports.

Counter to a report from ESPN's Todd McShay earlier this month – indicating Snyder wouldn't allow Rivera to select a quarterback second overall – Russell says Snyder is not interfering.

"I've been told by one really good source that Dan has no interference, no involvement directly, in that at all," Russell told The Sports Junkies Monday morning when asked who's running free agency for the team. "Now, that being said, does that mean he doesn't have any influence? Does that mean he doesn't have an opinion? Does that mean he doesn't have a wish or a desire? Of course not. He's the owner."

There was recent concern after the NFL Scouting Combine that Snyder might be getting too involved in the draft process, a year after the owner made the call to draft Dwayne Haskins 15th overall, taking over the pick from his previous coaching regime.

The Redskins met with both LSU's Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa at the NFL Combine, with Rivera calling those meetings at the time more than just due diligence.

Further, NFL Network reported in February that Washington's interest in Tagovailoa was more than just smoke aimed at coaxing a QB needy team to swap picks with the Redskins, that there's a "very real possibility" Rivera drafts a quarterback second overall.

Still, many believe when the Redskins are on the board, they'll stick with the obvious pick by selecting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young. The pressing question is who will be making that decision – whichever direction they decide to go in – come draft day?

"I know in perfect world, we'd love for Dan Snyder to do nothing but sign checks and run a multi-bazillion-dollar business and stay out of the way," Russell said. "But my understanding is Ron Rivera and Kyle Smith, who's gonna be essentially – I mean, he is the GM right now, and I don't think they're gonna hire a GM from the outside, based on common sense and based on also what I've been told – those two guys are running the show.

"And Ron himself has admitted, 'Hey look, if we're hopelessly deadlocked, if we're tied, and we need an opinion, we're gonna go to Dan.' So he's admitted that himself. But from what I understand, Dan is not saying, 'Ron, you have to draft Chase Young. You have to keep Dwayne Haskins. You have to do this.'"

Russell did say another source familiar with how the Redskins work believes Snyder still has his fingerprints on everything.

"Now, I know I've talked to somebody else who is very familiar with the inner workings of that building and they believe that Dan has still got his fingerprints on everything," he said. "But fingerprints could mean a lot of things to a lot of people."

"I know I was told definitively by somebody else who's very familiar with the operations of that building that he had absolutely zero involvement, or 'interference,' I guess is the word that he used, in terms of Kyle Smith and Ron Rivera's day-to-day function as the two top men in the football organization."

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