Moving on to the team that had the second worst record of the 2023-24 season; the Washington Commanders, who finished 4-13 and lost the last eight games of the season. To add salt to the wound, the Commanders won only one game at home this last year, giving their fans just about nothing to cheer for. Washing has about two dozen players going into free agency in 2024, and not a single one of them is a Pro-Bowler this year. In fact, NONE of the Commanders players made the Pro Bowl this year. They are in a very “elite” group with the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, and…Green Bay Packers (huh) to not have a single players named to this year’s Pro Bowl. If you’re a Washington Commanders fan…well, it can’t get much worse, right? Let’s take a look at who your franchise should keep and who they should let walk.
The Commanders offense finished 18th in passing yards with Quarterback, Sam Howell completing his first full year under center, which isn’t too bad. But then they also finished 24th in total yards, 25th in points scored, and 27th in rushing yards, which isn’t too good. Howell was 32nd in pass completion, first in interceptions thrown and in sacks taken, and 40th in Passer Rating. No, Sam isn’t a free agent this year, but Washington is going to need to decide if Howell is the problem, or if it’s his supporting cast. His backup, Jacoby Brissett barely played and will probably walk because of it, and, honestly, I wouldn’t stop him. While the running game sputtered this year, I like Running Back, Antonio Gibson; he’s been able to put up big yards in the past, has a career average of over four yards per carry, and is a great weapon in the passing game. The best part about Gibson is that the Commanders should be able to get him for about $3M a year. There are three WRs that are FA’s; Curtis Samuel, Jamison Crowder and Bryon Pringle. Of the three, I would only re-sign one: Samuel. You get what you get with Curtis, which is about 650 yards per year. Not bad for a WR3, behind Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. I would NOT pay Samuel more than $8M a year though. I also wouldn’t re-sign Fullback, Alex Armah. If you don’t know who he is, that’s fine. You don’t even use the guy, so it’s not a loss.
The Commanders O-Line is getting up there in age, and maybe that’s why Howell took so many sacks last year. Left Tackle Cornelius Lucas will be turning 33 before the 2024 season starts, so I would move on from him, and re-sign LT Alex Akingbulu to go along with Braeden Daniels and Charles Leno Jr on the left side. There’s enough young talent at the Guard position to where Washington can let Saahdiq Charles walk, and Center Tyler Larsen ended the year on IR, and will be 33 years old starting next season. IF the Commanders don’t decide to go with a QB with their #2 overall pick, they could think about moving back in the draft to stack some more picks and build up their O-line to let their young running backs loose.
If you thought the Washington offense was in bad shape, then you’re not going to be happy about the defense either. The Commanders were last in yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and points allowed. They were 29th in INTs, 27th in rushing yards allowed, 26th in sacks and 26th in overall takeaways. The defensive line needs a wake up call! Right Defensive End, Casey Toohill is a MUST re-sign; he was second on the team (after Washington shipped off Montez Sweat and Chase Young) with five sacks. He had his best year to date, and you can’t let him go at this point! James Smith-Willimas on the other side of the D-Line can be let to walk along with Efe Obada, and Defensive Tackles Curtis Brooks and David Bada. At linebacker, Washington should be able to re-sign Khaleke Hudson and Jabril Cox at reasonable contracts. They’re both young, and I believe they both have potential. Middle Linebacker, Cody Barton is the guy that might take a little more cash, but he’s worth it as well. David Mayo can then go unsigned as well to find a new home.
In the defensive backfield, Kendall Fuller is the only FA at cornerback, and he needs to be re-signed. Fuller is one of the best CBs in the NFL, and it would be a shame for Commanders fans to see him in another jersey after eight years in Washington. Fuller along with fellow CB Jartavius Martin were the only two DBs to record more than one INT last season. Strong Safety, Kamren Curl had another great season tallying a personal record 115 tackles in his fourth year. Seeing as how he’s only 27 years old, someone should be locking in him for a good four- or five-year deal with dollar amounts around what Jesse Bates III got last year. That means Safey Jeremy Reaves becomes expendable, unless he wants to sign a cheaper deal due to his ACL repair. Seeing as how Free Safeties Percy Butler and Darrick Forrest are projected to be ready for the beginning of next year, there’s no need to keep Terrell Burgess around as well.
Special Teams and More
After making only 79% of his field goals last year, I’d be kicking your Kicker, Joey Slye to the curb. Long Snapper Tucker Addington should be re-signed though. With all the punting that took place on the Commanders last year, he got some good experience, and that’s priceless!
It sounds like Washington landed a new Head Coach after firing Ron Rivera, and that man is familiar with the team. It’s former Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator, Dan Quinn. I wonder how Commanders’ fans will feel about that. At the very least, Quinn should build some credibility with keeping the talented FAs that Washington is in jeopardy of losing, and help to sign some other much needed help as well.. The Commanders have the second pick in the upcoming draft and it’s already rumored that they are looking at a QB, even though Sam Howell is just finishing his second year, after barely playing at all in his first year. My take in regards to the “biggest needs” for the Commanders: TRENCHES! Offensive Tackle, Defensive Tackle, Defensive End, Wide Receiver (especially if they can’t bring back Samuel), Center, and Linebacker. It’s not “sexy” but games are won and lost in the trenches, and the Commanders lost way too many of those battles last season. Thanks for the “read”!