Commanders To Trade QB Sam Howell To Seahawks

With Marcus Mariota in place for the Commanders, Sam Howell will indeed be playing elsewhere in 2024. The latter quarterback has been traded to the Seahawks, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Washington will send Howell along with a fourth- and sixth-round pick to Seattle. In return, the Seahawks will send a third- and fifth-round pick. All selections are in the upcoming draft. Mariota’s free agent signing suggested the Commanders would pair him with a rookie selected second overall in April. Doing so would have left Howell on the outside looking in, leading to questions about his future in the nation’s capital.

The Seahawks have (in incremental fashion) committed to veteran Geno Smith as their starter for 2024. The former Comeback Player of the Year earned a new deal last offseason as Seattle’s undisputed starter despite the presence of Drew Lock, a piece of the Russell Wilson trade. Smith will hold down first-team duties again this year, but he will have a new backup in place.

Lock took a one-year deal with the Giants, leaving Seattle in need of a QB2. Howell served that role for all but one week of his rookie year in 2022, but his play to close out the regular season informed the decision to release Carson Wentz. Then-head coach Ron Rivera showed confidence in Howell as the Commanders’ starter this past year, but that decision did not yield the desired results. The 23-year-old led the NFL in sacks taken and interceptions, seeing himself lifted mid-game on more than one occasion late in the campaign.

Still, Howell could profile as an option with some upside. The former fifth-rounder led the NFL in passing yards at one point during the 2023 campaign, one in which Washington fielded a less-than-stellar offensive line and posted a 4-13 record amidst struggles on defense. Rivera was fired, as expected, after the end of the season and Dan Quinn has been brought in to replace him. He and new general manager Adam Peters comprise a different regime than the one which drafted Howell, and they will now commit to whichever passer is added with the second overall pick in April.

Drake Maye – who replaced Howell as the starter at North Carolina – is one of the options Washington will likely have at No. 2 (with Caleb Williams presumed to be hear his name called first). LSU’s Jayden Daniels could also be the Commanders’ selection, but in any case the rookie passer will be positioned as a starter for the present and future given Mariota’s status as a backup during much of his post-Titans career. As a result of this deal, the Commanders will now own six of the top 100 picks in the upcoming draft.

Seattle, meanwhile, will have a Lock replacement on the books for at least two more years given the term remaining on Howell’s rookie pact. Smith is also under contract through 2025, but none of his base salary for that season is guaranteed. The Seahawks may have acquired the 33-year-old’s eventual replacement.

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