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Will Washington Have a New Quarterback Before Free Agency Starts?

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL free agency period starts March 17th. That is just over two weeks away. With plenty of activity swirling in Ashburn, many of it focusing around the quarterback position, the question remains - will Washington have a deal for a new quarterback in place before free agency starts?

There is one main school of thought here...

Washington may want to head into free agency with the quarterback position at least semi-settled so they can attract top offensive talent on the open market. Rumor has it the club wants to significantly upgrade at wide receiver, and a veteran presence to pair opposite Terry McLaurin is a necessity.

The main targets at receiver would be:

- Allen Robinson

- Kenny Golladay

- Corey Davis

- JuJu Smith-Schuster

- Curtis Samuel

- Will Fuller

There is also a chance Washington would pursue a guy like Hunter Henry if he’s not given a second tag or long-term deal by the Chargers.

Other tight end targets would be:

- Jonnu Smith

- Gerald Everett

Three quarterbacks have already been traded, and according to Ian Rapoport, Washington has acquired about all three...and more.

The point here to watch is, Ron Rivera and company may feel they need to have their quarterback in place to ATTRACT top talent to DC. Not many top pass catchers will be lining up to play with the likes of Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen - sorry folks...they just won’t.

The Trade Candidates:

Deshaun Watson(highly unlikely)

Russell Wilson(highly unlikely)

Marcus Mariota - If it wasn’t for escalators in his contract that could jump his annual salary as high as $20M in 2021, I feel a trade for Mariota would have already been made. There is still a chance one could happen if Marcus agrees to a new deal with Washington(likely adding an additional year) with average yearly money around $12-14M. If not, Rivera may wait until he’s released(which is likely), and attempt to sign him as a free agent.

Sam Darnold - This one is a bit more complicated, as the Jets are currently doing their due diligence on the in-coming quarterback class. There is no rush on their part to move Darnold right now, so this could be something that lingers until closer to the draft.

Jared Goff - Don’t laugh here. If the Lions are not sold on Goff being the long-term answer, don’t want to carry his current salary and would rather pick their own quarterback in the 2021 draft, there is a chance he could be moved again. I am one of the few who believe he could thrive here in DC with some solid playmakers and a great defense that keeps him in games.

Gardnew Minshew - All signs in Jacksonville point to Trevor Lawrence, who steps in day one as a starter and face-of-the-franchise for new head coach Urban Meyer. This leaves the team with a dilemma. Do they move Minshew for draft compensation before the draft takes place, or do they hang onto him as a quality backup? The 6’1” 225 gunslinger has the ability to create when plays break down, and could keeps Washington’s head above water until a more stabile presence is found.

Jordan Love - Aaron Rodgers is showing no signs of decline, and Jordan Love is going to rot on the bench in Green Bay. He’s big, strong, mobile and can make all the NFL throws. If Washington has sniffed elsewhere, why not at least inquire on his availability?

Matt Ryan - The Falcons are insisting that Matt Ryan is not a trade candidate, but if they are set on taking his replacement in the 2021 NFL Draft, and can be tempted with a day two draft pick, what’s to say they won’t at least listen. He’s not tops on my wish list, but he’d be a major upgrade to what is currently on the roster.

Free Agents:

Mitchell Trubisky - It’s unlikely the Bears will attempt to re-sign the former second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he’ll certainly garner some interest in free agency. If Washington feels he could be the answer here, they could move quickly to secure his services once free agency opens.

Jacoby Brissett - We don’t talk much about Brissett, but he could be a name that is on the team’s radar due to his mobility and deep ball ability.

*I didn’t list Dak Prescott or Jameis Winston as both are likely to be re-signed by their current teams.

The following are quarterbacks who will likely be signed in the second wave(or later) of free agency. None of these players will help attract top offensive talent.

Cam Newton

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Andy Dalton

If Washington makes a move for a quarterback via trade before free agency starts, or signs a player at the beginning of the open period - in order to try and attract some top offensive talent, who would you like to see them land?