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Commanders hire long-time league-office executive Dave Gardi

The league office laid the foundation for new ownership in Washington. New ownership in Washington has now hired a long-time member of the league office.

I’m not saying it’s not a coincidence. I’m just saying it happened.

The Commanders have hired Dave Gardi. He had most recently been the NFL’s V.P. of football initiatives. In Washington, via, Gardi will “handle a number of in-game management duties and will support the coaching staff and front office on compliance with League protocols, officiating trends and health and safety guidelines.”

Basically, he’ll make sure the Commanders are complying with the rules. And also, frankly, coming up with creative ways to secure an advantage while still complying with the rules.

He knows how the sausage is made at 345 Park Avenue. He can use that knowledge to get an edge for the Commanders. The fact that he’ll be involved with “in-game management duties” means that the Commanders fully expect him to leverage his background to help the Commanders.

The move also invites speculation as to whether, for example, a league that has suddenly begun pinching pennies might have lowballed Gardi, prompting him to look elsewhere. It’s also possible that someone in a position of power decided it was time for Gardi to go. (The league office usually doesn’t fire people; sometimes, it outplaces them to teams.)

That said, Gardi had never been mentioned as a potential successor to Commissioner Roger Goodell. Typically, that’s the development that puts a promising executive on the Big Shield endangered species list.