The NFL world was expecting some major news out of Washington this weekend, but what came through the wire on Sunday was not something many were expecting. According to Les Carpenter of the Washington Post, Washington has fired the top two employees in its pro scouting department -- Alex Santos, the director of pro personnel, and Richard Mann II, the assistant director of pro personnel. Washington reportedly declined to comment on the departures of Santos and Mann.
The timing of these moves is unusual, as they come a little more than two weeks before the start of training camp, as well as prior to a season in which COVID-19 is likely to make identifying worthy free agents and other additions even more important.
Santos had spent the last 14 years with Washington, and was responsible for coordinating the advance scouting of its opponents and the evaluation of all professional leagues for potential free agents and trade prospects, according to Washington's official website. In addition to helping the team acquire top talent in unrestricted free agency, Santos has routinely helped supplement Washington's roster by identifying key midseason additions. He went to Washington as a pro personnel assistant in 2006, eventually becoming an advance scout for five years. He was promoted to director of pro personnel in 2014.
Mann spent the last decade in Washington and was just a few years into his new role as assistant director of pro personnel. He served as a pro scout in his first seven seasons with Washington, according to its official website. In addition to weekly advance scouting of the team's opponents in that time frame, Mann was responsible for assisting in the evaluation and writing of player reports on potential talent in NFL free agency, the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League. His father was a veteran assistant coach who retired in the 2018 offseason following 33 years of NFL service.
These staff moves come during a weekend where many expect Washington to announce its official name change. It's unclear if these staff moves have anything to do with the franchise's imminent moniker swap, but the timing of this development is interesting nonetheless.