The 2022 season didn’t end up how many Commanders faithful had projected. Ron Rivera exercised some VERY poor choices in the offseason, and some questionable decisions during it, and those came back to haunt the team down the stretch. In reality, with the group Tugboat and company decided to put on the field, this was really not a playoff team, but a midseason win streak gave fans false hope...
Ultimately, this team was who we thought they were - a .500 team without a quarterback and a coach who many feel the game has passed by.
The new year does usher in a glimmer of hope however, as the Snyders are reportedly entertaining offers to sell the team. Cutting the snake off at the head would be the ultimate victory for fans who have wanted Dan gone since the early 2000’s. Many hope that when new ownership does take effect, they will eventually make wholesale changes to this team - including hiring a true general manager and letting that individual choose the next head coach. Until then, we are stuck with Ron and his cronies steering the rowboat.
There is also some renewed optimism under center. Rookie Sam Howell started the final game of the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys and looked pretty good. So good in fact, that there have been rumors that Washington is telling potential new offensive coordinator candidates that Howell will likely be the guy heading into the 2023 season.
Below is my offseason plan, which includes the Three R’s (Re-sign, Release and Restructure), followed by my free agent targets and mock draft.
2023 Salary Cap:
It was estimated by Tom Pelissero that the 2023 salary cap could exceed $220 million. I tend to stay pretty conservative here, so under this assumption, that should give the Commanders around $12 million before the Three R’s take place.
Daron Payne - Payne is Washington’s biggest free agent this offseason. The contract the team gave to captain Jonathan Allen should be where the front office is heading (plus inflation). Payne is still young (he turns 26 in May), and it’s important to keep the nucleus of the team together along the defensive front.
Contract: 4years/$75M (2023 cap hit of $8M)
Wes Schweitzer - Schweitzer is a valuable asset on the interior of the offensive line, being able to play guard or center.
Contract: 2 years/$10M (2023 cap hit of $3M)
Jeremy Reaves - Reaves was named to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team as a special teams star. He’s earned a new contract here in D.C.
Contract: 3 years/$10M (2023 cap hit of $2M)
Carson Wentz: Savings - $26.2M
Logan Thomas: Savings - $5.2M
Chase Roullier: Savings - $4.3M
Cornelius Lucas: Savings -$2.8M
Andrew Norwell: Savings - $2.3M
Total Savings: $40.8M
Kendall Fuller - 3 years, $36M ($5.25M cap hit in 2023) -
Savings - $6M
Given the above moves, Washington should head into free agency with approximately $46M in salary cap space.
2023 Key Free Agents:
- Tremaine Edmunds(25) ILB BUF - 5yrs $85M ($8M cap hit in 2023)
- Kaleb McGary(28) RT ATL - 4yrs $68M ($7M cap hit in 2023)
- Mike Gesicki(27) TE MIA - 3yrs $36M ($5M cap hit in 2023)
- Cody Ford(26) G/T ARI - 3yrs $18M ($3M cap hit in 2023)
- Andy Dalton(35) QB NO - 1yr $3.5M
Total Cap Hit in 2023 - $26.5M
*These are just some of the bigger-name targets I’d like us to pursue. There will need to be a few more smaller signings to fill roster spots and add needed depth.
2023 NFL Draft:
Stayed tight here at #16 and grabbed MY CB1. Went o-line back-2-back with next two picks (made a trade with the Texans to represent the comp pick in RD3 we’ll likely get). Last pick #211(not pictured here) is Ole Miss RB Ulysses Bentley. pic.twitter.com/OQBZOnaJd6— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) January 14, 2023
RD1(#16) - Joey Porter Jr., CB, PSU: Porter is a long, athletic CB who would be a great match opposite St-Juste on the outside. his 6’2” frame and 4.4 speed will allow great flexibility to others on the back end.
RD2(#47) - Jarrett Patterson, C/G, ND: Patterson can play all three positions on the interior, but I think center is his best spot. He can step in for the departed Roullier.
RD3(#100) - Warren McClendon, OT, Georgia: McClendon is a very good athlete on the edge who just needs to work on his fundamental strength at the point of attack. His hand placement and ability to hit targets in space is exceptional. He can play either left or right tackle.
RD4(#115) - Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford: McKee is a big, linear quarterback who can really spin it. He’s not the most athletic guy out there, but he has plus traits that can be developed.
RD5(#147) - Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington St.: Henley is an athletic off-the-ball linebacker who has exceptional striking power when he meets the ball carrier.
RD6 (#179) - Noah Ruggles, K, Ohio St.: Ruggles was one of the top kickers in college football, pairing a big leg with great accuracy. Joey Slye’s inconsistency during the season, especially when the playoffs were on the line, says it’s time to look elsewhere. The importance of a good kicker in the NFL can’t be underestimated.
RD7 (#211) - Ulysses Bentley, RB, Ole Miss: Bentley is viewed as more of that third-down type back in the NFL. He’s a solid blocker with good hands.
2023 Projected Two-Deep:
QB - Sam Howell, Andy Dalton
RB - Brian Robinson, Antonio Gibson
WR - Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown
WR - Jahan Dotson, Dyami Brown
WR (Slot) - Curtis Samuel/Dax Milne
TE - Mike Gesicki, John Bates/Cole Turner/Armani Rogers
LT - Charles Leno OR Warren McClendon (whoever doesn’t start is the swing tackle)
LG - Cody Ford, Chris Paul
C - Jarrett Patterson, Wes Schweitzer
RG - Sam Cosmi, Saahdiq Charles/Wes Schweitzer
RT - Kaleb McGary, Leno/McClendon
EDGE - Chase Young, Casey Toohill/Shaka Toney
DT - Jon Allen, Phidarian Mathis
DT - Daron Payne, John Ridgeway
EDGE - Montez Sweat, James Smith-Williams
LB - Tremaine Edmunds, Daiyan Henley
LB - Jamin Davis, Khaleke Hudson (RFA who should be tendered)
CB - Joey Porter OR Kendall Fuller
CB - Benjamin St-Juste, Christian Holmes
Slot/Buff Nickel - Kendall Fuller/Bobby McCain/Cam Curl
S - Cam Curl, Jeremy Reaves
S - Derrick Forrest, Percy Butler