The results of a survey of about 1,300 players conducted by the NFLPA to determine the best, and worst, destinations for free agents to sign are in. And, unsurprisingly, the Washington Commanders received the worst Club Report Card in the NFL.
The survey asked respondents to evaluate eight key categories — Treatment of Families, Nutrition, Weight Room, Strength Staff, Training Room, Training Staff, Locker Room and Travel — and assign them a letter grade. How a team fared in the eight separate categories was then used to give them an overall rank within the NFL’s 32 teams. The Commanders, who came in 32 out of 32, received an A+ for their training staff, but did not get anything higher than a C+ anywhere else (Weight Room) and received an F for Treatment of Families and an F- for Training Room, Locker Room and Travel.
“The Washington Commanders are ranked 32nd (last) in our team guide. Besides the strength coaches who received great feedback and grades as one of the best groups in the league, the rest of the club’s operations and facilities were rated by player respondents at the bottom of every single category,” per Washington’s team report card. “Only 22% of players feel like they have enough space on team flights. The Commanders are one of six teams in the NFL that make a segment of their players have roommates before games and one of seven teams in the NFL that do not offer their players first-class seats. The locker room does not have confidence that club owner Dan Snyder is willing to invest to upgrade the facilities, as player responses rank him 31st in this category.”
Not a great look for Washington, but also not really a surprising one given all that has gone on in Synderland over the past few years. The Commanders certainly have their issues, but they are far from the only team to grade out poorly.
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The Cardinals (No. 31) charge players for their meals. “If players would like dinner, it will be boxed up for them, but players reported that the team will charge you via payroll deduction. This is apparently the only club that does this. Players reported that if you work out at the facility after the season is over, the team charges you for every meal eaten at the facility (again, apparently the only team in the league that does this).”
The Chargers‘ (No. 30) facilities are a mess. “They are currently in a converted office building as a temporary facility and according to reports, the permanent training facility should be ready by 2024. The player respondents shared information indicating that they felt there are deficiencies with the training room, cafeteria and locker room, which all grade poorly among respondents. The maintenance for the hot and cold tubs is lacking, with multiple respondents calling them ‘gross.’”
The Chiefs (No. 29), despite winning the Super Bowl, have issues. “Players’ responses showed that treatment of players also falls well below other clubs across the NFL. For example, the Chiefs are one of 6 teams that still make certain players have roommates, and less than 50% of players feel they have enough room to be comfortable on flights. Feedback on the training room was also notable; player respondents called for a more welcoming environment, and several players had negative opinions about head trainer Rick Burkholder, feeling that he does not treat players fairly and consistently, or with personal care.”
The Jaguars (No. 28) have a problem with rats and how they treat players’ families. “When asked what the number one thing they want changed at their facility, the answer was unanimous – get rid of the rats! Players reported that for 3-4 weeks this season, there was a rat infestation in the locker room and laundry hampers. The second issue was the players’ feeling that the team can take better care of the players’ families. For example, because they do not offer a family room like most NFL teams do in their stadium, we heard of instances where players’ wives nursed their babies on the floor of a public restroom.”
At the other end of the spectrum, the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders graded out as the best places to head as a free agent. Players will start moving in a few weeks when NFL free agency officially kicks off.