Another Year, More Mediocrity, and How to Move Forward

Another Commanders/WFT/Redskins season came and went, and sure enough they will not be playing in the post season despite Taylor Heinicke winning enough games to put them in the seventh spot in the NFC playoff race for a little while. The team then, of course, let Daniel Jones run all over them and dink and dump it up the field in consecutive games, and ultimately killed their playoff hopes in the process.

HOWEVER: I think there is a way to bolster the team’s weaknesses, while also making them better on both sides of the ball. It requires cutting some guys, some significant fan favorites, but in this league winning matters, and these guys are too old, not worth their contract, or just stink.

Carson Wentz: We all knew this one was coming. Wentz played decently in the first few weeks of the season. Don’t rip my head off, be honest. He played well, we just did not protect him in the slightest and called plays that took longer than a drive from Maryland to Florida to develop. Myles Garrett was actually quoted in the Washington Post article about Scott Turner calling horrible plays saying, “I feel bad for Wentz. It wasn’t so much him not playing well as it was the plays taking too long to develop in front of him.” Scott Turner didn’t help Wentz at all, and that’s why he doesn’t have a job anymore (well, that and he likes to pitch to a third string running back on fourth and one instead of giving it to Brian Robinson averaging six YPC up the middle). Wentz certainly didn’t help himself wither with his play, but they both had to go. Cutting Wentz frees up $26 million in cap space, enough to pay Daron Payne ~$22 million (guessing that’s the offer it will take to keep him here with Atlanta and Chicago both having plenty of cap and a need for DL after his elite season), and have enough left over for some depth signings. But we aren’t done there.

Logan Thomas: Yes, I know he is a fan favorite, but Thomas tore up his knee two seasons ago, missed time this season due to injury, and is over 30 years old with a LOADED tight end class in this draft (please find a way to get Dalton Kincaid on this roster). Cutting Thomas leaves us with a dead cap hit of $3.5 million, freeing up $5.2 million in cap space. It’s not a lot, but it adds up when you have to pay Payne, strengthen the OL, and honestly extend Kam Curl this offseason before he walks next year for way more money.

Kendall Fuller: Another fan favorite, and a guy that played well for the Commanders after William Jackson (talk about a waste of money) was traded to the Steelers. Fuller has a dead cap hit of $3.125 million, which means cutting him frees up over $8 million in cap space. Fuller also showed his speed isn’t quite there anymore, causing the Commanders to play primarily zone coverage, allowing teams to pick up quick yards with short passes. With Ben St-Juste on the other side of the ball and playing extremely well since bumping outside, it makes too much sense to free up the cap space and draft Joey Porter Jr. or Christian Gonzalez at 16, play press man with two big corners, and let the pass rush from Jon Allen, Daron Payne (on a new contract :)), Chase Young, and Montez Sweat get home. Don’t forget about Phil Mathis and John Ridgeway either. Mathis obviously went down with an injury this year, but Ridgeway showed he can play, and having those two as our primary rotational DTs behind the Bama boys sits pretty damn well with me.

Charles Leno: Yes, I know. This one hurts me too. He is a GREAT guy, potentially even winning Walter Payton Man of the Year this season. He played well for us over the past few seasons, not missing any time, and really only getting beat every now and again. I know there are plays where he screws up, but it happens to everyone. More importantly, cutting Leno saves $8 million against the cap. Oh yeah, Orlando Brown hits free agency this year, and the draft has some solid options as well. This one is the least likely I think, because you do ultimately need to use that first round pick on a corner, and the chances of a starting caliber NFL LT being there in the second round are slim.

Curtis Samuel: I hate this one. Samuel flies around the field and always offers the threat of an explosive play with his blazing 4.3 speed. Cutting Samuel frees up about $6 million in cap. Yes, I know we have a strong WR corps, but Jahan Dotson proved he will makes plays in this league, and I won’t even try to justify Terry McLaurin because of how damn good he is. You can easily find another cheap slot WR via free agency or the draft, and with Scott Turner gone, I’m not sure it makes much sense to keep him around.

In total, those five players free up about $53 million in cap space, which primarily comes from Wentz obviously, but when you can replace the other guys with younger and cheaper, and potentially even BETTER options, and you still have to pay two of your best defensive players, these moves make too much sense. Most people wanna trade up for a QB most likely. Don’t. Roll with your draft pick, the kid you are grooming. I am NOT saying Sam Howell will be the savior or is the answer, but he showed he has an NFL arm against Dallas, and with a full off-season as QB1, I think he can be successful, ESPECIALLY if you keep your elite defense in tact, surround him with talent, and hire an OC that actually knows how to call plays. Then, draft a new tight end in mid rounds (most likely getting a third round compensatory pick from Scherff walking), invest in the OL in free agency with that money, and give Howell a shot.

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