As the 2022 NFL season is winding down, and a playoff push is still within reach, now may not be the time to start looking toward the future. But when you are the Washington Commanders, and are STILL left with a HUGE question mark at the most important position on the football field, the present is always a good time to discuss just how to get that player in the fold.
The 2023 NFL draft should have two potential game-changing type quarterbacks sitting near the top, and a few other “projects” lurking in the top 15. Without a high first rounder, and the looming loss of their own third due to the trade for Carson Wentz (although they should receive a third round comp pick for Brandon Scherff), Washington may not be within striking distance for a player like Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud... or Will Levis or Anthony Richardson.
In this likely scenario, the board could fall to the best available offensive tackle or cornerback:
- Joey Porter, Jr., CB, PSU
- Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
- Kelee Ringo, CB, UGA
- Matthew Bergen, OT, Syracuse
- Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
But what if new ownership takes control sometime in the spring of 2023, and leaves the current regime intact - instead choosing to look to 2024 to make their mark on the franchise?
New General Manager who hires the new head coach - novel idea, right?
Trade Back in the 2023 NFL Draft
The Commanders are very likely going to be picking in the late-teens-to-early-twenties of the 2023 NFL Draft. As things currently stand, the team's top needs will be quarterback, offensive tackle and cornerback. It’s highly unlikely the team will be in position to take one of the top signal callers in this draft class, which could leave us looking at tackle and corner with our first round pick (see above).
Unless there is a can’t-miss prospect who is sitting there at our selection, my hope is that the Commanders are actively listening to trade offers to move back (possibly even out of round one altogether), for a future first round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft...and maybe more.
Trade Chase Young
To some fans, this may sound horrifying, however, when you look at the big picture, this staff made a major mistake taking Young over Justin Herbert. Now, you can never predict injury (or the meteoric rise Herbert would have in his first few years in the league), but Young has just not made the impact we needed from the second overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Montez Sweat is the better player and should be the guy we re-sign (assuming we can’t keep them all).
If the staff shuts Chase down for the remainder of 2022 and lets him get right, both physically and mentally, he can hopefully come back at full strength for the 2023 season. In a perfect world, he comes out early and blows the doors off the league with a return to rookie form. And then, just as his trade value is ascending, Washington moves him prior to the 2023 trade deadline for a 2024 first round draft pick (and maybe more).
Trade Daron Payne
Let me just make this clear - I would much rather us re-sign Payne this offseason. However, if we can’t reach a long-term deal, my hope is that Washington uses the franchise tag on him, and does the same thing I suggested with Chase Young; which is move him prior to the trade deadline for a draft pick (hopefully a 1st rounder) as he continues to ball-out early in 2023 in D.C.
This plan may sound aggressive, but it’s not completely unrealistic to imagine Washington executing these three things (or at least two of the three) and heading into the 2024 NFL Draft with multiple high picks.
My thought here is new ownership takes control sometime in the spring of 2023, and leaves the current regime intact - instead choosing to look to 2024 to make their mark on the franchise?
New general manager who hires the new head coach - novel idea, right? Say that new GM and coach want a new face of the franchise?
It’s pretty obvious that the apple of this writer’s eye would be one Caleb Williams, the star USC quarterback, current Heisman winner and DMV native.
There will no doubt be many teams fighting for the right to draft Williams and barring a major collapse that sees Washington ending 2023 with the number one overall draft pick, the Commanders will likely have to offer an attractive package to move up and secure his services. In a perfect world, the team sitting in the number one overall spot in 2024 will already have a franchise quarterback, and for whatever reason (be it a rookie taken in 2023, injury, or simply a very poor team surrounding him) they just have a very poor season. This could open the door for a team to trade up for the uber-talented quarterback.
Now, this is not all cut and dry, OR is it completely suggesting we go all-in NO MATTER WHAT for Caleb.
What if we move on from Heinicke (which I feel needs to happen) in the offseason and bring in a veteran bridge to compete with Sam Howell. What if Howell takes the opportunity and runs - never looking back, and becomes the franchise quarterback this team so desperately needs?
Obviously, in this case, it wouldn’t be a smart football decision to sell the farm for a quarterback. However, having multiple first round draft picks is NEVER a bad thing. There will no doubt be very good players at premium positions for Washington to select, and hopefully this is all done under new ownership.
This also needs to be said. I am in no way advocating we use the “T-word” in 2023, or not adequately address our needs this offseason. As a matter of fact, in the Re-sign, Release, Restructure article I wrote a few weeks ago, I suggested some ways we can save money for the 2023 season and repair many of the holes that exist on this roster.
Here are some players we can release and restructure to give us immediate cap savings to sign some quality free agents:
Carson Wentz - $26.2M
Charles Leno - $8M
Logan Thomas - $5.3M
Chase Roullier - $7.8M
Kendall Fuller (restructure) - $5M
TOTAL = $52.3M
Would you be ok with Washington trading out of round one of the 2023 class for a 2023 second and 2024 first?
This poll is closed
Should Washington consider trading Chase Young if the return is good (at least a 1st rounder)?
This poll is closed
Wait and see how he looks upon return
Should Washington consider tagging, then eventually trading, Daron Payne if a long-term deal isn’t reached?
This poll is closed
Depends on the trade compensation