The Washington Commanders are 4-8 on the season, winless in the NFC East, just fired defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and have a new owner who has transparently stated he will make changes throughout the organization after the season is complete.

Multiple sources tell CBS Sports that managing partner Josh Harris is inclined to keep Ron Rivera through the end of the regular season, but it is widely assumed that he will not be retained as head coach and the ostensible chief of football for the Commanders after the 17th game of the year.

That means there will be a search for a head coach, and very possibly a general manager, in Washington this offseason. And both jobs are thought to be among the most attractive in the NFL.

Rivera finishing out the season is likely to take place even if Washington is mathematically eliminated from postseason contention weeks earlier. One source said Rivera has “earned the right” to stay through the end, while others have noted Harris keeping Rivera through a lost season presents himself as a benevolent owner who’s willing to fairly evaluate everything without making rash decisions.

The decision to fire Del Rio was Rivera’s, with no stated mandate from ownership. The defense has struggled all season – they were bottom-four in yards allowed and points allowed before the Chase Young and Montez Sweat trades – and a team source indicated the defense could use a boost with Del Rio out of a job.

Rivera signed a five-year deal ahead of the 2020 season, so he still has one year left on his contract.

Dan Snyder hired Rivera to be a stabilizing force in the dysfunctional organization Snyder oversaw. Rivera brought a level of professionalism and maturity to the program, while being the leader of all football operations from the jump.

Rivera got Washington to the playoffs in his first year, winning the NFC East with a 7-9 record but losing in the wild-card round to the eventual Super Bowl-winning Buccaneers. But the team couldn’t build off that success, and barring an undefeated finish to this season, he will finish his years in Washington without a winning season and just one playoff appearance.

Since 1978, no coach other than Joe Gibbs has taken the Washington franchise to the playoffs more than once in their tenure there.

Harris purchased the team for a record $6.05 billion over the summer, and the deal wasn’t finalized until July. He had no designs on making any changes to the coaching staff just before the season, or in-season for that matter. But in October, he told the Sports Business Journal that changes across the building were certain to take place.

“Not everyone’s going to make it. But at the same time, I found a very earnest, hardworking group of people that really want to rise to the challenge,” Harris said. “Right now, we’re trying to really support everyone but also raise expectations and hold people accountable. So we’ll have to see where it ends up. But right now, it’s all been working great.”

The Commanders have the sort of setup where the head coach runs all of football. The Commanders hired Martin Mayhew as the GM in January 2021, but Rivera holds final say on football matters.

A Rivera dismissal at the end of the season would create the possibility of more traditional roles for head coach and GM, and that could lead to Washington getting a new general manager, too.

“Everyone’s shooting for Washington,” one personnel executive said of the Commanders not-vacant GM position.

Washington has a healthy salary cap situation, good draft picks and an ownership group that – admittedly not even a half-year into its rule – appears competent. There’s an allure to a job in Washington that hasn’t been there for a quarter-century.

Considering Harris’ background, a league source tells CBS Sports that any candidate with an open-mindedness to data and analytics will likely be a plus.

Still, the season isn’t done. And there’s plenty more to evaluate in Washington before any decisions are ultimately made. Harris will continue to exercise patience before making any major decisions with the organization.

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Kay Adams