The Commanders were pretty active at the start of the NFL’s legal tampering period on Monday. Offensively, Washington signed both OL Nick Gates and RT Andrew Wylie to three-year deals. Defensively, Washington agreed on an extension with defensive lineman Daron Payne on Sunday before the start of tampering. On Monday, Washington re-signed CB Danny Johnson, claimed CB Cameron Dantzler off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings, and signed former Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton to a one-year deal.
The two most important positions that needed to be addressed this offseason were quarterback and offensive lineman. While Rivera is adamant about giving Sam Howell every opportunity to win the starting job, the quarterback position will always be a top priority until there is a definitive answer. But with that being said, context is everything, and because of the Commanders ownership situation, expecting Washington to make a big move at the quarterback position will provide nothing but disappointment or frustration with the organization, whether that be Lamar Jackson or a draft prospect. However, the next best thing for Washington to solidify was their offensive line, which is responsible for protecting whichever quarterback does start in week one.
Wylie and Gates aren’t All-Pro or Pro Bowl players, so it would be naïve to assume that this elevated Washington’s offensive line into a top-ten unit. Additionally, there are still unanswered questions about what the Commanders want to do with Sam Cosmi moving forward, as well as Wylie and Gates, as they can both play multiple positions on the line. Nevertheless, the signings indicate that Washington, presumably OC Eric Bieniemy, had a plan and was aggressive in acquiring the two linemen that he felt would best fit his offense, including a former Chiefs player who already knew his blocking scheme and was likely very capable of communicating that to the rest of the offense. It has been an ideal offseason already, and now a pretty solid starting point as they head into the rest of tampering/free agency.
Check out the latest Trap or Dive Podcast, where AJ, Dre, and I discuss the latest Commanders free agency news and what the Daron Payne extension means for the Commanders.