After starting the 2020 NFL season 1-5, the Washington Football Team were able to bounce with an NFC East title. While their defense was the biggest reason, there was no doubt that the return of the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year recipient in quarterback Alex Smith played a huge part in the team’s resurgence. After Dwayne Haskins Jr. dropped in productivity and Kyle Allen was injured, Smith took over after the serious leg injury he suffered in 2018. Washington won five of their six games under his leadership including the shocking 23-17 win at the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 13. Smith wasn’t able to start for Washington in the 2021 NFC Wild Card when they hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That game led to the impressive emergence of Taylor Heinicke, who essentially carried the offense to a near-upset of the Buccaneers.
With Washington looking to develop further past the clinching of their terrible division with a 7-9 record, the team looked to make some big moves during the offseason. They needed a new quarterback, but they felt potentially stuck with Smith on their roster. On Monday, March 1st, multiple reports confirmed that Washington is looking to release Smith in the next few days. With the quarterback position the highest on the list to alter in the offseason, this was the move they felt they have to make. Washington is likely the favorites to repeat as NFC East winners but they won’t get advance further in the playoffs with a franchise quarterback. This offseason is the best chance in years to acquire a franchise quarterback via trade, free agency, or the 2021 NFL Draft. Here are some options for the Washington Football Team at the quarterback position.
Options for the Washington Football Team at the Quarterback Position
Drafting a Quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft
This year’s NFL Draft is packed full of talented quarterbacks with five projected to go in the first round. There is little to no chance to acquire Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson. There is. however, an opportunity to make a move for the other top quarterbacks. Washington has two scenarios they could utilize in the 2021 NFL Draft. The first is through a trade with a higher within the top six-to-ten for Justin Fields or Trey Lance. These are players that are worth a significant trade, but more than two first-round picks would be much. The other scenario is to wait it out and see if Mac Jones will slip to the 19th overall pick. This will be tough considering the New England Patriots might take a quarterback with the 15th overall pick.
Washington will need a more stable offense going into the 2021 NFL season. Last season, Washington ranked 25th in points per game (20.9) and 30th in total yards per game (317.2). The shuffling situation between three quarterbacks going the season made the offense inconsistent. Under Smith, the offense averaged 25.7 points per game. Smith coming off a major and career-threatening injury proved to more beneficial to the offense than Haskins or Allen. With a young, talented quarterback on their roster, they can develop even further in productivity. Having Heinicke start the season while the young quarterbacks learn and develop is an option that Washington has to consider. His significant play has likely earned him a developer for Fields, Lance, or Jones to become the main backup quarterback. Heinicke might likely get the 2021 season-opening start with the rookie quarterback on the bench.
Trade for Deshaun Waton
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that likely around 20 or more teams are looking into the possibility of trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Washington might seriously make an offer for the three-time Pro-Bowl and current NFL passing yards leader. What it will take to get Watson will depend on what Washington will offer to the Texans, who remain vigilant on keeping him. They could potentially trade their entire 2021 NFL Draft selection that is composed of eight picks. A similar move relates to when the Minnesota Vikings traded for running back Herschel Walker from the Dallas Cowboys. Adding Watson to Washington will create many opportunities for players to develop around him including wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Watson as Washington’s franchise quarterback will turn them into Super Bowl contenders.
Acquire Another Quarterback Via Free Agency or Trade
The less attractive option for the Washington Football Team at the quarterback position would be to acquire one via free agency. With Dallas likely using the franchise tag on Dak Prescott, there are not many names that make teams want to jump the gun. There are more gambles in this free-agent market such as Mitchell Trubisky, Cam Newton, and Tyrod Taylor. These are quarterbacks that have shown to be winners, but they have more risk than reward at this point in their careers. A trade for a quarterback, outside of Watson, might be better for Washington. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan are players that have been put on the trade block recently.
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