Now that this rollercoaster of a season is finally over we can all look ahead to an exciting offseason to reinvigorate hope in all of us just like it does every year! And luckily I've had enough down time at work to put together a decent mock free agency and draft... So here goes!
Per Overthecap.com we have $60,921,305 mil in cap space in 2022 and will roll over $16,852,870 from 2021 giving us a total cap space of $77,774,175. Now the first thing to decide is which of our current players do we want to cut or trade and which impending free agents to re-sign
For once, Washington doesn't have any what I would call major cap casualties on the books. Landon Collins is the closest we come to it, but cutting him would only save $6.6 mil, and while he wasn't playing up to his contract as a S, when he started playing more as a LB he looked much better and a great piece of the defense. For now, I will keep Collins on the roster and see if he's willing to embrace the buffalo nickel as his new role.
This is the offseason where I believe we need to trade someone along the D-Line while we can still get good value for them. I'm going to trade Da'Ron Payne to the Los Angels Chargers for a 3rd pick which I think is fair value for a young NT that offers great run support and decent pass rush skills for a playoff caliber team that's in there rookie QB window. Payne only has 2022 left on his rookie deal and his skill set is the most easily replaced by re-signing Tim Settle. This saves us $8,529,000 in cap space and brings us up to $86,303,175.
Tim Settle NT 24 mil/3 yr
J.D. McKissic RB $10 mil/2 yr
Joey Slye K (ROFR Tender) $2.433 mil/1 yr
Tyler Larsen C, DeAndre Carter WR, Troy Apke CB, Torry McTyer CB at $3 mil/2 yr each
Cam Sims WR at $4 mil/2 yr
A name you may have noticed immediately isn't there is Brandon Scherff, I just can't justify spending $18 mil/yr on a guard that won't even play a full season, I'd rather roll with Schweitzer at RG and draft a rookie. I also didn't re-sign Fitzpatrick mainly because I believe he will retire.
Now for the guys I did re-sign, I view Settle and McKissic as key role players that have earned 2nd contracts with us. The others I view as good depth players that I'd at least like to see be brought into camp for competition. Assuming average mil/yr of each contract, this brings our cap space to $47,250,175.
Accounting for draft picks and cushion for the 2022 season we have about $40 mil we could spend in free agency, but I would cation against the doing so as in 2023 we have guys like McLaurin, Sweat, Ionnidis, Flowers, Schweitzer, and Holcumb as key free agents next year that we SHOULD roll some cap over to help cover their bills. In addition, we have the chance of a 3rd round comp pick for Brandon Scherff, and if we can we should protect that pick.
My top target in free agency though is going to be a FS, and there should be 1 or 2 stud guys available in Marcus Williams (Sant's cap issues) and Marcus Maye (wants out of Jets). After that I expect us to do what we normally do and grab some bargains in the second wave of free agency and pick up a decent swing tackle.
Marcus Williams FS 60 mil/5 yr
Matt Pryor OT 15 mil/3 yr
Sheldon Day DT 4 mil/2 yr
After these signings plus a few more to fill out the top 51 contracts, I expect us to still have roughly $27,000,000 most of which I expect us to be able to roll over to 2023.
My plan going into the draft is to spend the early picks on getting critical help for the offense, add depth for the defense in the middle rounds, and then get some of my more interesting prospects in the end. If one of Kenny Pickett, Matt Coral, or Malik Willis is available at #11 then I'd pick them, but currently I don't think that'll happen. I'm higher on this QB class than what most people seem to be, I don't see a Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson type of prospect, but I do see a few similar to Justin Fields and Mac Jones. If we don't get one of the top 3 at #11, then I'd do a trade similar to what we did in 2019 to get Sweat and offer a 2022 & 2023 2nd to get back into the end of the 1st round.
#11 Ikem Ekwonu G/OT NC State
I love Ekwonu, he's 6-4 320 lbs that's incredibly strong a with relentless mauler mentality and athletic enough to be a franchise blindside protector, now we don't really need a tackle now given Cosmi's great play earlier in the season and Leno's extension. But Ekwonu started his college career at guard for the Wolfpack, so I envision him filling the hole (and possibly play level) of Scherff at RG. I do believe Schweitzer would be a good starter, but he is 29 and his contract is up next year when we have so many other key free agents. Relegating Schweitzer to the back up role gives us great depth on the interior and in 2-3 years when we're done with Leno we can move Ekwonu back out to tackle similar to what the Cowboys did with La'el Collins.
#32 (from Packers) Desmond Ridder QB Cincinnati
Desmond Ridder is my QB #4 mostly because I love his combination of arm talent and mobility, two traits I suspect are very important to this coaching staff. When Scott Turner was hired he was to run the air coryell offense where going deep is a 1st priority, but unfortunately, he hasn't had a QB with the arm talent and smarts to actually run this system. Ridder offers the accuracy and strength to hit those deep shots, and the athletic ability for misdirection plays that I think Turner can't wait to play.
#73 Quay Walker LB Georgia
#85 (from Chargers) Coby Bryant CB Cincinnati
#110 Max Mitchell OT Louisiana
Walker, Bryant, and Mitchell are three guys that in the early process of my film evaluation has impressed me with their athleticism, a trait that this staff seems to value quite highly given the 2021 draft. Walker is 6'4'' & 240 lbs who offers good quickness and agility, but he does like instincts. Bryant is 6' 198 lbs and is the lesser known of the Cincinnati CBs, but still offers good length and speed for the position. Mitchell doesn't offer much in size at only 6'5'' 299 lbs, but does have good technique and quick feet. This season really showed how little depth this team had and these guys can start has good back-ups and hopefully take expanded roles over the next few seasons
#189 Tre Turner WR Virginia Tech
#229 Levi Lewis QB Louisiana
Honestly Tre Turner is a bit of a homer pick (I'm a hokie alum), but he is a scrappy tough WR. He's not very athletic, but he can make his own on special teams. Levi Lewis might seem like an odd selection since I already went with a QB earlier and most people probably haven't heard of him before as I found him by accident. I was watching tape Appalachian State LB D'Marco Jackson run a blitz that the Lewis stepped into and took a shot while throwing the ball, and yet the ball still sailed down the field and placed perfectly for the receiver. From there on I couldn't stop watching him, he's similar to Taylor Heinicke in that he's got a small frame and always plays his ass off, but Lewis is quicker and has a stronger arm.
Early 53 Man Roster Prediction
QB - Desmond Ridder, Taylor Heinicke, Levi Lewis
RB - Antonia Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Jaret Patterson
LT - Charles Leno, Brandon Shell
LG - Ereck Flowers, Saahdiq Charles
C - Chase Roullier, Tyler Larsen
RG - Ikem Ekwonu, Wes Schweitzer
RT - Samuel Cosmi, Max Mitchell
WR1 - Terry McLaurin, Cam Sims
WR2 - Dyami Brown, Tre Turner
WR-S Curtis Samuel, DeAndre Carter
TE - Logan Thomas, John Bates, Sammie Reyes
DE - Chase Young, James Smith-Williams
DT - Johnathan Allen, Sheldon Day
DT - Matt Ionnidis, Tim Settle
DE - Montez Sweat, Willaim Bradley-King
WLB - Jamin Davis, Khaleke Hudson
MLB - Cole Holcumb, Quay Walker
SLB - Shaka Toney
BUF-S - Landon Collins
CB - William Jackson III, Torry McTyer
CB - Benjamin St-Juste, Coby Bryant
CB-S - Kendall Fuller
SS - Kameron Curl, Darrick Forrest
FS - Marcus Williams, Deshazor Everett
P - Tress Way
K - Joey Slye
LS - Camaron Cheeseman