Commanders Likely To Pursue Offseason QB Addition

2023 marked Sam Howell‘s first season as the full-time starter for the Commanders. His level of play has taken a downturn recently, meaning his grip on the No. 1 role heading into next season could be less tenuous than it was this past offseason.

The Commanders elected to release Carson Wentz after the 2022 campaign, and they declined to bring in an expensive addition to replace him. That decision – coupled with the lack of draft investment at the QB position – paved the way for Howell to spend the season atop the depth chart. The 2022 fifth-rounder has started every game this season, but the results have been varied.

Howell has thrown for 300 or more yards five times this year, showing signs of promise as a rusher by adding a pair of 35-plus-yard performances on the ground along the way. However, the North Carolina alum has thrown eight interceptions over the past five games, tossing only two touchdowns during that stretch. In each of the past two contests, veteran Jacoby Brissett has taken over for Howell and provided a spark on offense.

Given Howell’s inconsistent play, Outkick’s Armando Salguero reports the Commanders are likely to bring in competition for the starting role in the 2024 offseason. Brissett has logged 48 starts during his journeyman career, but he was always seen as an insurance policy more than a genuine threat to Howell for the No. 1 gig. The latter is not in danger of being let go, of course, since his rookie contract runs through 2025.

However, it would come as little surprise if Washington elected to hold an open competition under center this offseason. Brissett is a pending free agent, so the team will need to add another option at the position via trade, free agency or the draft if he is not retained. The 4-11 Commanders are on track to have a high first-round draft pick, but they may find themselves out of reach for top options Caleb Williams and Drake Maye.

Another major factor in this situation, of course, is the uncertainty the Commanders face on the sidelines and in the front office. New owner Josh Harris is widely expected to dismiss head coach Ron Rivera, and general manager Martin Mayhew is also on the hot seat. New decision-makers will need to be in place before a direction is chosen as it pertains to the quarterback position.

In any event, the Commanders are projected to be among the league leaders in cap space this offseason, giving them flexibility ahead of an important roster-building stretch. Whether or not competition for Howell is brought in will be a key storyline in the nation’s capital.

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