The goal of every offseason is to fill holes and improve your football team. Free agency is a big part of that improvement process. Seeing as no team really comes out of the draft and says we did not improve with our selections, and realizing that most draft picks can’t be fully evaluated until at least year three in the league, I will only take a look at what the Commanders have done so far in the free agency period, comparing what they have gained to what they lost.
Brandon Scherff - The five time Pro Bowler and 2020 First Team All-Pro signed a three-year, $49.5M contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Tim Settle - Signed a two-year contract with the Bills in free agency.
Ricky Seals-Jones - Signed with the Giants in free agency.
Kyle Allen - Signed with the Texans in free agency.
Garrett Gilbert - Signed with Raiders in free agency.
Matt Ioannidis - Released by the team. Signed with the Panthers.
Ereck Flowers - Released by the team.
Landon Collins - Released by the team.
Deshazor Everett - Released by the team.
DeAndre Carter - Key free agent who has not been re-signed.
Key Free Agent Additions:
Carson Wentz (29) - Washington traded a 2022 third round pick, a conditional 2023 third, that could go to a second, and swapped seconds in 2022 with the Colts to acquire Wentz and the Colts 7th this year. He’s under contract through 2024.
Andrew Norwell (30) - Norwell began his career as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers in 2014. He was voted first team All-Pro in 2017. He signed a free agent deal with the Jaguars in 2018, that made him the highest paid guard in the league. He comes to Washington on a team-friendly two-year deal.
Efe Obada (29) - Obada is a reserve EDGE, who saw time with Buffalo in 2021 recording 3.5 sacks in 10 games. Prior to being with the Bills, he was coached by Rivera in Carolina.
J.D. McKissic (28) - McKissic signed a two-year deal to remain the Commanders primary third down running back.
Bobby McCain (28) - McCain signed a two-year deal to remain in Washington. He gives the back end of the defense some position flexibility as he can play both free safety, and in the slot as a nickel defender.
Cornelius Lucas (30) - Lucas signed a two-year deal to serve as the team’s swing tackle.
Danny Johnson (26) - Johnson will return to Washington on a one-year deal. He has both outside and slot-corner ability.
Cam Sims (26) - Sims will return on a one-year deal, and will likely serve as a backup outside receiver and red zone target.
Tyler Larsen (30) - Larsen, a reserve center/guard, will return on a new one-year deal.
Troy Apke (26) - Apke, who is viewed as a special teams stalwart, will return to Washington on a one-year deal.
Joey Slye (25) - Slye was tendered by Washington in March.
2022 Team Needs:
WR - This remains a top team need, and there are two main reasons for that. First, a Terry McLaurin extension should be on the horizon. Anticipating Terry will get at least $20M/AAY, and Curtis Samuel being signed through the 2023 season with an average of $11.5M/AAY, it makes sense to find a legitimate 1b or number 2 wideout to pair opposite McLaurin on a cheap rookie deal. Second, we really had no one step up opposite Terry last season. Samuel, when healthy, may be more of a slot/RB type player, and Dyami Brown has yet to show he belongs in this league. Cam Sims was re-signed, but he’s probably best suited in a reserve role.
With a loaded class at the position, and with the Commanders picking just outside the top 10, this sets up nicely for a top receiver to hear his name called early in the draft.
TE - Logan Thomas suffered a knee injury that required surgery late in the 2021 season. He’ll be 31 in July, and has just one year of solid productivity. It’s unknown whether he’ll be ready to start the season, and even if he is able to, a complement to the position, with flex ability, would be nice for Washington. Ricky Seals-Jones signed a free agent deal with the Giants, and the Commanders are left with two young, developmental players in Sammis Reyes and John Bates.
ILB - Last year, Washington selected Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis at 19th overall. They tried to play the rookie at the MIKE position, but things didn’t click, and a late season switch to OLB was made. The Commanders are left looking for a sideline-to-sideline middle linebacker to anchor the defense. Cole Holcomb could be an option, but that leaves another hole at OLB.
FS - It seems like decades since Washington has had a true center field safety on the back end of their defense. There are some nice players who can play strong safety and even buffalo nickel, but there is still a major void to be filled in the middle of the secondary. Re-signing Bobby McCain was a good move on a team-friendly two-year deal, but he’s not the long-term answer, and may be better suited for the slot.
IOL - The Commanders lost starting right guard Brandon Scherff in free agency. His departure leaves some big shoes to be filled, however his lack of availability the past few seasons was an issue. The expectation now is that Wes Schweitzer will man that position, but the depth behind he and newly signed Andrew Norwell is lacking.
QB - Before the trade for Carson Wentz, quarterback was at the very top of the list. The staff truly desired a veteran at the position, and now that Wentz is here, he will be given every opportunity to show he’s the guy. If he falters, Rivera and staff could turn to the 2023 draft class to find their quarterback of the future, but for now, all eyes are on Carson, and surrounding him with as much offensive weapons as possible.
That being said, a developmental quarterback in the second half of the draft should be a focus of the team. Taylor Heinicke is under contract through 2022, and currently there are no options behind him.
*Buffalo Nickel - I list this position with an asterisk because it’s more of a scheme fit that a pure position. That being said, the team moved on from Landon Collins, who played the hybrid “Money Backer” role last year, and is now in search of his replacement. There are some internal candidates who could fill this role, but a true Swiss Army knife at Del Rio’s disposal would give this defense some great matchup flexibility.
Free agency up to this point certainly took care of the biggest need the Commanders had - Quarterback. From a quick glance, the casual fan could say we have already improved the team by leaps and bounds over last season with this move alone.
Digging in a bit deeper however, will still show many key areas of need that were not even touched in free agency.
- Buffalo Nickel
- DL Depth
- QB Depth
With only six picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, and just two in the top 100, the chances of filling all the the remaining holes with impact players from the get-go are slim.
- Round 1 = Pick 11
- Round 2 - Pick 47
- Round 4 - Pick 113
- Round 6 - Pick 189
- Round 7 - Pick 230
- Round 7 - Pick 240
In my opinion, Washington lost more impact players than it signed this free agency and ALSO gave up a valuable draft pick within the top 100 this year to bring in quarterback Carson Wentz. That move alone was a sizable upgrade, but within our division, the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys all got better heading into the draft, while the Commanders, in my opinion, did not.
This draft is going to be very important is adding playmakers to this team on both sides of the football, but the main focus has to be improving an offense that averaged just 19.7 points per game in 2021.
Can the Commanders strike gold in the draft, and possibly even add some more picks by trading back, to help fill the void left by a very lack-luster free agency period?
Has Washington gotten better or worse so far this offseason?
This poll is closed
Stayed about the same