New culture, new attitude, same QB questions for the Washington Football Team.
After missing out on both Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff, Washington is still trying to upgrade their QB situation. They’ve been linked to a few names around the league, so I’ll rank them in four different tiers.
Tier 1: Potentially franchise altering
- Dak Prescott: I think Washington will closely monitor the Dak Prescott contract situation with the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas has yet to commit to Dak as their franchise QB, and he is an upcoming free agent. Will Dallas more than likely franchise tag him? Probably, but if things do potentially go completely left, Washington should be front and center in the Dak Prescott sweepstakes.
- Deshaun Watson: The Houston Texans have said on record that they have no interest in trading Watson, and have no plans on trading their franchise QB. On the other hand, there are reports that Deshaun has no plans to return to Houston and would like out, with the potential threat to hold out until he is moved. The asking price for Watson if he is moved will be record-setting, but I do not believe Washington will truly be in the running. Newly hired executive VP of Player Personnel Marty Hurney in his introductory said they “will be aggressive but won’t mortgage the future” to get a new QB, and trading for Deshaun Watson will be doing exactly that.
- Drafting Justin Fields/Zach Wilson/Trey Lance: The chances of any of these QBs falling to Washington are almost slim to none. If Washington wants to get one of these QBs, they’ll have to trade up. To get Fields or Wilson, they have to trade up into the top 5. Teams to look at are Cincinnati and maybe Atlanta, depending what their future plans are for QB Matt Ryan. They’ll have to trade the 19th pick and their 2022 1st round pick, anything beyond is just small details of the deal that they’ll have to iron out. If they are interested in Trey Lance, they’ll have to trade up but it might not be as high as the other two QBs. I fully expect Washington to have a bid in to grab one of the four rookie QBs not named Trevor Lawrence.
Tier 2: Maybe the solutions
- Drafting Mac Jones: According to Jim Nagy, Jones was very impressive and was able to understand the QB verbiage. Nagy also said with his performances in the Senior Bowl, Jones could have potentially pushed himself into the conversation with Trey Lance as to who is the fourth-best QB in the draft. He also said that he understands the verbiage and has great touch on the ball, and has the traits to be a successful QB in the NFL. The biggest knock on Jones is “the amount of overall talent they have at Alabama makes his job easier”, and that is not a fair take. With the amount of talent that he had around him, he was supposed to put up the numbers that he did, so that notion is not fair. If you say he needs to be more mobile or he cannot move in the pocket, that’s fair, but don’t knock him because he has talent around him.
- Sam Darnold: With the firing of Adam Gase and having the second overall pick, the NY Jets could be looking for a different QB. With them potentially moving on from Darnold, Washington could potentially be in the market for him. I personally am not high on Darnold, as he is completing 59.8% of his passes, and I believe being inaccurate is something that you cannot fix. If his trade value is anything higher than a third-round pick, I don’t think Washington is all in on the Darnold move. This current coaching staff was reportedly high on Darnold when he was in the draft, so if they still believe in his potential under a new regime, best believe they’ll be in talks to get him.
Tier 3: One year bridge gap
- Bringing back Allen/Smith/Heinicke: Staying with the current trio of QBs is an option, but there comes many questions with this group. Taylor Heinicke signed a two-year deal worth $8.75M deal on Wednesday, and this comes as no surprise. With his performance in the limited amount of time he played, he earned a chance to come in and compete for a roster spot. Do I think he’s a starter? No, but he can fill a role for you and provide true competition in the QB room. Even with Heinicke re-signed, the biggest question for Washington is can you rely on them to be healthy for a full 17 game season? By the end of the season, all the QBs had a serious injury that had them (Smith (calf), Allen (ankle), Heinicke (shoulder)). Bringing back Alex with his current cap hit simply is not going to happen, whether he retires or the two sides negotiate a new contract. The organization loves Alex, but the only reason he was on the roster is the fact that cutting him would cost them more than keeping him on the roster.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick/Tyrod Taylor: Bringing in a new veteran to be a placeholder to the 2022 offseason could definitely be a possibility. If Alex Smith does not return whether he retires or the team releases him, having just Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke is not attacking success. A veteran who has a good amount of starts under their belt is certainly on their radar, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tyrod Taylor certainly fit that mold. Veterans who have been on a few teams, don’t make critical mistakes that cost your team games more than win games and give your team steady play week in and week out.
Tier 4: Don’t even think about it
- Cam Newton: The Cam Newton/Ron Rivera connection makes sense on the surface level, but a lazy underwater prediction. Cam is washed up and is nowhere near the same player he was before his many shoulder injuries. His intended air yards per passing attempt was only 6.8 yards, so the almost 66% completion rating is a bit of fraud. Bringing in a guy who was passing just above 60% for his career, coming off the worst year of his career is simply a bad move.
- Jameis Winston: The last time we saw Winston as a full-time starter, he threw for a league-leading 5109 yards while throwing 33 touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Bucs. But he also threw 30 INTs, the most in a season since 1988 when Vinny Testaverde threw 35. The amount of money he can potentially make on the open market is mind-boggling, and Washington should have no parts in the negotiations. Never posting a 2:1 TD to INT ratio, he is not someone you want being your QB full-time.