- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2023

Forget exactly who the Commanders’ next owner is going to be. Rex Ryan has an idea of what that person can bring to the franchise. 

The former Jets coach said on ESPN’s pregame show Sunday that Tom Brady and Sean Payton — yes, that Tom Brady and Sean Payton — could land in Washington given how the sale of the franchise shakes out.

Brady will be a free agent in March and Payton spent this past season out of football.

During a segment on Brady’s future, Ryan floated out the pair working together — something that has long been rumored and led to the Miami Dolphins being fined for tampering last year. 

“This is gonna be a crazy one, but I’m telling ya, watch the Washington Commanders in this,” Ryan said.

Co-worker Randy Moss laughed. 

“Here’s why I say it could happen,” Ryan said. “There’s a strong possibility that there’s going to be a change in ownership and when that happens, these owners aren’t tied into that coach. And to me, I can see a Sean Payton, Tom Brady. … I could see this as a possibility.” 

Last August, the Dolphins were fined $1.5 million and docked a first-round draft pick for tampering with Brady, who was contacted by Miami when he was with the New England Patriots and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dolphins planned to pair him with Payton, the former New Orleans Saints coach who has interviewed with multiple teams this coaching cycle. 

The Dolphins reportedly don’t plan on pursuing Brady this coming spring, but there is expected to be no shortage of teams interested in the 45-year-old quarterback. The Las Vegas Raiders have been strongly linked to Brady as coach Josh McDaniels served as the seven-time Super Bowl champion’s offensive coordinator in New England. 

The San Francisco 49ers, Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Brady’s current team) have also been mentioned as options. 

Despite Ryan’s comments, the Brady-Payton duo for the Commanders likely remains a pipe dream. For one, even if the Commanders are sold by the start of free agency, a new owner is unlikely to fire coach Ron Rivera immediately upon taking over. Then, Brady would have to be interested in the Commanders — which is no guarantee.

The Commanders will explore options at quarterback this offseason, but the team has indicated to prospective offensive coordinator candidates that Sam Howell will likely be Washington’s starter next season. Howell, a fifth-round rookie in 2022, started the Commanders’ season finale, helping them upset the Dallas Cowboys. 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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