Ron Rivera and company tried, but yet again struck out landing a big-name offensive talent. Last March, it was Amari Cooper who supposedly took less in free agency to go back to the Cowboys. This time, it was the soon-to-be 33 year old Matt Stafford that the staff “supposedly” took as massive swing on...and missed.
But, we did learn a little something from this latest strikeout.
First, we know for as much as Ron has done to change the culture here, we still have a lot of work yet to be done to make this team a desired destination for the NFL’s premier talent. And if you are one of the naïve who think that Stafford had no say as to where he was traded...you are just flat out wrong. Second, we learned that this staff absolutely feels that the future quarterback of this football team is NOT currently on the roster. Don’t give me the “Heinicke Hope” or “Allen assumption”. Ron is NOT about to go into 2021 with these two as starting options. Finally, and most of us assumed this was the situation anyways - Alex Smith will not be part of this team for much longer. There was no way on God’s green earth that we would have traded for Stafford, while still keeping Alex, and his massive contract, on the books. If we did make the move for Matt, I have to assume that Ron and Alex have already had “the talk” and have agreed to move on...preferably on Alex’s terms via a retirement sometime in February.
So assuming these things are all correct, where does Washington look now?
2021 Quarterback Options
Although we missed out on Matt Stafford, there are still plenty of directions the team can go to secure a quality quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Trade for a veteran:
Deshaun Watson - I have him listed first, not because I think it’s remotely possible, but rather to get it out of the way so we can move on talking about the more realistic options. First off, I am STILL in the camp who believes Watson won’t be traded. Could I be proven wrong...absolutely, but I think the Texans do whatever they can to mend fences. Second, if Stafford was traded for two first round picks, a third and a young quarterback(albeit a contract dump), Watson will demand at least four firsts and a QB; or at least one of those picks being high enough this year for the Texans to land a passer in the draft. Washington doesn’t have the resources to pull this one off, so I’m writing it off!
One of the Raiders Quarterbacks - Now, could Carr become available for a draft pick and a player(preferable defense)? Sure. Is it likely? No. The much more likely scenario is the Raiders moving Marcus Mariota, and his 10M 2021 salary for a later round draft pick. If the latter were to happen, Washington could use him as a bridge quarterback for a drafted rookie to sit and learn behind. Mariota is just 27, has tremendous athleticism, and may just need another opportunity to prove himself.
Jared Goff - It was very clear that trading Goff was a salary dump by the Rams. It’s also clear that the Lions are in the early stages of a rebuild. Giving up a pick after round one could make some sense here, as he’s still young, won’t break the bank, and has averaged over 250 passing yards per game over the past four seasons. The issue is, the interceptions. Over the last four years, he’s thrown at least 12 picks per season, with a career high of 16 in 2019. He’s certainly in that Kirk Cousins category - but he’s still better than any passer we’ve had here in decades.
Sam Darnold - The Jets, yet again, have a new head coach. Robert Saleh didn’t draft Darnold, and certainly shouldn’t be married to him - especially holding the number two overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It would be easy for the jets to simply hit the reset button, and trade Darnold to the highest bidder.
Carson Wentz - New Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was non-committal during his introductory press conference on Wentz’s future with the team. What really hurts(no pun intended) is they are currently projected to be over the 2021 salary cap, and Wentz’s contract is a big reason for this. Let’s not forget to mention Jalen Hurts, who looked much better than Wentz in extensive action during the second half of the 2020 season. What to watch here if Wentz become available, is the Colts who should be ready and waiting to pounce!
Matt Ryan - This is another one I don’t see happening. Ron has stated he likes mobility and a big arm. Ryan has neither. Not to mention he’ll turn 36 in May. It’s highly likely the Falcons, who are selecting fourth overall, will take a signal caller, with Georgia native Justin Fields being a likely candidate. I’m sure the Falcons will be entertaining offers for Ryan, but I do hope Washington sits this one out.
Dak Prescott - It’s highly unlikely the Cowboys won’t do everything in their power to keep Prescott in Dallas - but you just never know. If he gets the opportunity to test the open market in March, it’s probable he goes to the highest bidder.
Mitchell Trubisky - Trubisky played well down the stretch for the Bears, and he’s young enough to think his mistakes are correctable. Still, he’s a back-half starter who will probably be retained out of necessity by Chicago.
Jameis Winston - It’s hard to imagine the Saints not trying to keep Winston given Drew Brees’ retirement. He throws for a lot of yards, but he also has a propensity for turning the football over.
2021 NFL Draft:
Washington is not in a great position to draft one of the top four prospects - Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson or Trey Lance, but if one happens to fall, or Ron falls in love with one of the last three, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility to trade up for one.
If all four are gone by pick 19, here are some options that could be interesting after round one.
Mac Jones - I do NOT believe Mac Jones is a first round prospect, and I 100 percent do not believe he’s worth the 19th overall pick in the draft. But some team will probably over-draft him out of desperation. If he were to be there in the second round, I’d consider him; although I don’t really care for his skillset(or lack there of).
Kyle Trask - He’s not mobile nor does he have a good arm, but he could represent some value in the middle of the second round.
Jamie Newman - He’ll need some work, so drafting him would require a bridge quarterback already being in place. But, his upside is high. He’s a 3rd round prospect.
Kellen Mond - Mond has an interesting blend of athleticism and arm strength needed to succeed in the NFL. However, he’s far from a polished prospect and will need at least a year or two if he were to ever get there. He’d be an option after the third.
After missing out on Matt Stafford, what do you think Washington should do at the quarterback position heading into the 2021 season.
Please discuss in the comments section - Oh,... you will receive a time-out and slap on the wrist with a metal ruler if Taylor Heinicke or Kyle Allen are mentioned as starting options!