The news that Washington had traded for former Eagles and Colts quarterback Carson Wentz was met with a lot of hate by fans who had delusions of grandeur that the team may actually be putting together a lucrative offer to trade for Texans’ superstar Deshaun Watson.
In reality, Watson, who has a no-trade clause, was very unlikely to waive that to come to Washington, and I have to assume the team knew this when they pulled the trigger on Carson.
Fans may view this move as desperation - but let’s be honest, no top-tier veteran quarterback is going to voluntarily come to this team considering the dysfunction that continues to rot us at the core. A trade, where said player had no control of the situation as to where he’s traded, was our best chance at getting an upgrade at the position.
Moving forward, The Commanders now have a SIGNIFICANT upgrade under center in 2022. Whether or not Wentz (just 29), is the long-term answer here is still up for debate, but if he shines, and returns to the form that saw him as a leading candidate for Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 with Philly (before injury), we have two more years of control for under $30M/year in 2023 and 2024. If he stinks up the joint this year, we can cut him with no dead cap after the season.
After the expected release of veteran safety Landon Collins, the Commanders will have roughly $12M in cap space. They can create quite a bit more with some extensions/restructures in the next coming days.
Below is my mock offseason:
Daron Payne: 4yrs/$53M
*This move should save us roughly $6M in 2022 cap space
Joey Slye: 2yrs/$2.2M
Laken Tomlinson: 3yrs/$33M
Zach Ertz: 1yr/$7M
Anthony Walker Jr: 3yr/14M
2022 NFL Draft:
- Round 1 | Pick 11 - Drake London WR USC
- Round 2 | Pick 47 - Lewis Cine S Georgia
- Round 4 | Pick 112 - Tyler Badie RB Missouri
- Round 6 | Pick 188 - Kalon Barnes CB Baylor
- Round 7 | Pick 228 - Luke Fortner OL Kentucky
- Round 7 | Pick 237 - Ellis Brooks LB PSU
2022 Projected Starting Lineups:
QB - Carson Wentz
RB - Antonio Gibson
3rd Down RB - Tyler Badie (R)
WR - Terry McLaurin
WR - Drake London (R)
Slot WR - Curtis Samuel
TE - Zach Ertz
TE - Logan Thomas/John Bates
LT - Charles Leno
LG - Ereck Flowers
C - Chase Roullier
RG - Laken Tomlinson
RT - Sam Cosmi
Edge - Chase Young
DT - Jon Allen/Matt Ioannidis
DT - Daron Payne
EDGE - Montez Sweat
SAM - Cole Holcomb
MIKE - Anthony Walker Jr.
WILL - Jamin Davis
Buffalo Nickel - Darrick Forrest
CB - William Jackson III
CB - Kendall Fuller/Benjamin St-Juste
Nickel - Kalon Barnes (R)
S - Kam Curl
S - Lewis Cine (R)
Hopefully Wentz can be our quarterback for the future, and I am willing to give him that chance to prove himself, rather than draft a rookie to sit behind and learn from him in what many view a weak class. If he works out; great. If he doesn’t, we can look to the 2023 draft to get a signal caller.
Being that we don’t have a ton of cap space currently (although we can easily make more), I set out to fill some holes in free agency with players who won’t break the bank. Paring Ertz with his former quarterback does two things. First, it gives Carson a familiar face, who should also be a locker-room confident. And second, it gives us a nice vertical threat at the position, AND insurance in case Logan Thomas is not 100% recovered from the knee injury he sustained late last season.
In Tomlinson, the Commanders get a proven talent to step in and take over for the departed Brandon Scherff - and at a much more cap-friendly number. The 6’3” 315 pound former first round draft pick has started every game the last four seasons, and this offense shouldn’t miss a beat with him in there.
Finally, I gave us a young, fast, smart middle linebacker to anchor this defense in Anthony Walker. In 12 games started for the Browns in 2021, Walker posted 113 total tackles. He’ll turn 27 in August.
I went into the draft looking for a dynamic playmaker to pair opposite Terry Mclaurin. I came away with the 6’4” 219 pound London, who in just eight games before a fractured ankle ended his junior season, had recorded 88 receptions for 1084 yards and seven touchdowns. He is a true mismatch nightmare with deceptive speed and strong hands.
In round two, I was looking for a versatile safety prospect and Landed on Georgia's Lewis Cine. Many have pegged Cine as a box safety due to his ferocious hitting style, but he showed teams at the combine that he can be much more. The 6’2” 200 pounder ran a blazing 4.37 40, posted a 36.5 inch vertical and looked smooth and fluid in on-field drills.
Our third round pick went to Indy as part of the Wentz trade, but in round four I was able to secure a third down running back and return specialist to take over for the departed J.D. McKissic in Missouri’s Tyler Badie. The 5’8” 197 pounder ran a 4.45 40 and showed off his soft hands and burst in on-field drills.
My last three picks went towards depth, securing the combine’s fastest man in 2022 in Baylor corner Kalon Barnes - who can help in nickel and as a returner, guard/tackle prospect Luke Fortner from Kentucky, and Penn State middle linebacker Ellis Brooks.
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