Commanders games will no longer air on The Team 980

“We initiated a formal RFP [request for proposal] process last fall for the Washington Commanders Radio Broadcast Agreement, which concluded last week,” the spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement. “Multiple companies submitted bids as part of this process, including Audacy who was an active and aggressive participant and submitted multiple partnership proposals for the next three years of increased value over our previous deal.

“Based on the evaluation process, we selected a new partner who will bring a significantly larger deal, as well as new creativity and broader reach and scale, to programming. We shared with Audacy last week that we would not be moving forward as partners.”

Kevin Sheehan, the host of 980’s morning show, said on air Wednesday that the company and the team “disagreed on the value of the broadcasts” and that “it was important for us to continue to provide what we provide on our talk shows, which is honest, objective analysis about the team.”

Sheehan said the station’s coverage of Commanders game days this season will include “at least four hours of pregame coverage, a new in-game talk show focusing on analysis and fan-reaction and in-game betting angles.”

Audacy, one of the largest radio companies in the country, also owns DC’s 106.7 The Fan and Richmond’s 910 The Fan. The change, however, strictly pertains to 980’s game broadcasts.

“It doesn’t change our show one bit or another,” John-Paul Flaim co-host of 106.7’s “The Junkies” said on air Wednesday. “Like, we’ve done our show with the rights and without the rights.”

WTEM held the broadcast rights for Washington football games from 1992-94, then again starting in 2008, when Red Zebra Broadcasting, owned by Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, purchased the station from Clear Channel. In 2018, WTEM rebranded to become the Team 980 and Snyder sold it to Urban One. Audacy, then known as Entercom, purchased the station in 2020.

Commanders add depth to D-line, secondary

The Commanders on Wednesday also signed two players for depth on defense: fifth-year lineman Efe Obada, who spent two seasons (2018-19) with Coach Ron Rivera in Carolina, and cornerback/special teamer Danny Johnson, an undrafted player who first signed with Washington in 2018.

Obada’s deal is for one year, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound lineman became the first player out of the NFL’s International Pathway Program to join a 53-man roster when the Panthers added him in 2018.

He was born in Nigeria and lived in the Netherlands and then England, where he played for the London Warriors of the British American Football Association National Leagues. After only five games with the Warriors, Obada signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 and spent part of the season on the practice squad. After short offseason stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons in 2016, he participated in the international program and latched on with the Panthers. He spent last season with the Buffalo Bills.

In both Carolina and Buffalo — two teams that used a 4-3 base scheme on defense — Obada was used at both tackle and end, according to Pro Football Focus’s snap counts. Rivera has stressed versatility, especially among reserves, and Obada could help fill a void after the Commanders let defensive tackles Tim Settle and Matt Ioannidis head elsewhere in free agency.

Rivera has mentioned Obada over the years, especially in relation to defensive tackle David Bada and tight end Sammis Reyes, two other international players to come through the IPP, an initiative that began in 2017 to give international athletes an opportunity to vie for NFL roster spots .

“He played well for Carolina and now he’s in Buffalo playing well for them,” Rivera said of Obada last season. “And you see that David Baba has that ability to go forward. But the little nuances of feeling certain things, understanding certain things, he’s still learning those things. It took Efe Obada 3½, almost four years, before he really became that guy, and that’s pretty much what I see with David Bada.”

Johnson signed with Washington after going undrafted out of Southern University and has evolved into a core special-teams player and backup. Last season, as injuries and the coronavirus depleted Washington’s defense, Johnson played a team-high 161 coverage snaps in the slot, according to PFF. Rivera praised his play, especially late in the season as the team relied heavily on reserves, citing his anticipation and understanding of route concepts in coverage.

Johnson could be used primarily in the slot again this year, depending on the team’s draft additions. Washington’s secondary remains mostly intact, but cornerbacks Darryl Roberts and Torry McTyer, who is recovering from an ACL injury, are unsigned free agents.

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