Now that the initial euphoria of the 2021 free agency period has simmered down, let’s take a quick look at where the Washington Football Team stands. Let’s start on offense.
With the New England Patriots signing 471 free agents in the first 13 minutes of legal tampering, it didn’t leave much for anyone else. Jacksonville is jumping in with their 200 billion in cap space and scooping up some potential Washington Football Team targets as well. The Patriots grabbed tight end Jonnu Smith right at the starting gun and the Jags recently snapped up cornerback Shaq Griffin. Both may have been on the Washington Football Team’s wish list, but the price tag on both grew too high.
If there’s one thing Ron Rivera and company have demonstrated in their year on the job, it is that they will not overpay.
Now that can be very frustrating when the doors to the candy store burst open and all you come out with in your first two days is an old box of Good & Plenty, (est. 1893) in the form of Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Good & Plentys aren’t too bad, especially when you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg. Ryan Fitzpatrick at approximately $12 million buys the Washington Football Team some time in solving the long-term QB problem, and that’s OK for now.
The Washington Football Team is still being linked to Jets’ soon-to-be-gone Sam Darnold via trade. Unlikely. It’s not that the Washington Football Team wouldn’t like to have a young reclamation project with an upside like Darnold. I just can’t see them spending what it will take to acquire him.
A far more likely scenario to me is a mid-round draft pick on a developmental QB. So If Mac Jones falls into the second round, or Kellen Mond falls to the fourth, or Jamie Newman to the fifth, I would expect a rookie QB battling it out with Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke next year behind the beard.
But that’s for a few months down the road. There are still quality players available. Last year, Washington looked for bargains and scored big with a few. They have seen two of them – Ronald Darby and Kevin Pierre-Louis – parlay those good seasons into nice paydays from other teams. Those losses hurt a bit, but both players are replaceable.
So far, the only moves the Washington Football Team has made on offense, aside from inking Fitzpatrick, have involved their own players. Re-signing Dustin Hopkins and locking up Cam Sims and both young QBs aren’t very exciting, but they were solid moves. Tagging Brandon Scherff was a much bigger deal, and there could still be further developments there.
So who are the bargains still floating around after two days?
The Washington Football Team missed out on Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, but Gerald Everett, Anthony Firkser, Dan Arnold and Jacob Hollister are all still waiting for a call. Each of them can be sneaky dangerous playmakers while Logan Thomas draws most of the attention in the middle. If he wants to give it another year or two, Jared Cook can do this too.
At receiver, Washington did not overspend for the likes of Corey Davis or Marvin Jones, Jr. But Keelan Cole and former Panther Curtis Samuel are available. An older player like John Brown or T.Y. Hilton might fit in with what is likely to be a very young receiving corps.
This assumes that Washington does not spend big on one of the remaining upper-echelon receivers. I still have Kenny Golladay at the top of my wish list, but I am not holding my breath. And I assume Will Fuller will price himself too high as well.
Adding a Cole or Samuel, along with the return of Kelvin Harmon, improving players like Cam Sims, Antonio Gandy-Golden and Isaiah Wright, and one or two speedsters in a deep receiver draft, may not be as exciting as a Terry/Kenny tandem, but it would be a major upgrade over 2020.
In the backfield, former starters Chris Carson and James Conner would be very good complements to Antonio Gibson if they could stay healthy. Both are incredibly tough runners. But I would call the agent of Jamal Williams, who may not fill the Peyton Barber hole as nicely, but is just an all-around quality running back.
Along the line, there was a run on offensive guards early, but there are still a lot of bargains in the mold of Wes Schweitzer still out there. Oday Aboushi and John Miller can start or provide depth. As the AFC West continues to cut seemingly all of its starting linemen from last year, more vets are coming on the market. The Titans (obviously watching what teams like Kansas City and Las Vegas have been doing) recently let go of Dennis Kelly, who looks to me to be an ideal swing tackle.
Before we look at defenders, I want to report that New England just signed 54 more players. They are currently restructuring contracts into the 29th century.
After I have a chance to go over these latest moves, I’ll look at what defenders are still available to help out in Washington.