SNIDER: Commanders buyers down to three-plus?


Jeff Bezos has the most money. Josh Harris provides sports savviness. Tilman Fertitta offers the best fan experience.

Any of the three, or possibly an unseen bidder, could buy the Washington Commanders when owner Dan Snyder is done having a fit over selling. It's not just about money, though it's always about money. It's also about Snyder and his grudges and alliances and even NFL pressure that determines the buyer.

With three weeks until the NFL's owners meetings that serve as an unofficial deadline for Snyder to avoid potential league sanctions, anyone could still buy this team. It's up for grabs like a Hail Mary into the end zone.

Bezos has always been the unofficial clubhouse leader to buy the team despite reported pledges by the Snyders (Dan and Tanya) that the Amazon founder and the world's richest man is barred from bidding. Uh, sure, right up to the moment Bezos walks into the press conference. Enemies become allies all the time, and this would be even easier given it's a one-way rivalry.

Certainly, Snyder is trying to raise the price to somewhere in the $6 billion-plus range. And like player contracts, there are several ways to arrive at the price. Does it include FedEx Field and the Ashburn training facility, plus the sports betting license whose combined worth might be $1 billion? Perhaps the next owner just wants to rent those facilities given the team plans for a new stadium in the coming years. Snyder could sell those parcels separately and perhaps for even more money.

The NFL's required 30 percent cash requirement means $1.8 billion for a $6 billion price tag. Not an easy check to stroke for anyone, but Bezos has that in his couch cushions. That Bezos' plane was at the same tropical island airport as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' plane over the weekend shows talks are real.

Jones is playing the role of Ben Franklin as dealmaker of the Founding Fathers. Snyder has always admired Jones. If the latter will listen to anyone, it's his team's rival owner. Jones is good at calming contentious negotiations and making a deal.

But if Bezos tires of the animosity, he knows there are other teams to buy in coming years. The NFL would rather Bezos buy Washington as a large-market team so all franchise values rise $1 billion. Bezos brings a lot of money into the NFL and that's all the league really wants in a new owner.

Harris has long been considered the next man up, given his sports ownership in the NBA, NHL and Premier League soccer. He's also a dealmaker who, like Bezos, can get the RFK site by creating widespread wealth for the city. Harris can't outbid Bezos, but he's certainly an acceptable alternative to the league and city.

But, don't overlook Fertitta. His reported $5.5 billion offer is a little low, but can be massaged. Fertitta, who owns the Houston Rockets, is a kindred spirit of Snyder's (and yes that should scare you) in pushing employees hard. But then, what billionaire doesn't? The late Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke wasn't the easiest person with whom to deal, but three Super Bowl championships made him lovable.

There are still wild cards to play over coming weeks. Anyone aside Snyder can walk away as owner. Hopefully, a coming change doesn't blow ill winds.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.

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