Sam Howell

Latest On Michael Penix Jr.’s Draft Stock

Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, and Drake Maye have sat relatively firmly atop mock drafts throughout the pre-draft process, and it sounds like J.J. McCarthy is destined to join that trio in the first round. After those top-four quarterbacks, focus shifts to Michael Penix Jr., and it remains to be seen how early the Washington product will hear his name called.

While teams like the Patriots (No. 3) and Giants (No. 6) have recently been connected to Penix, it’s more likely those teams would only consider the quarterback in trade-back scenarios. As a result, Albert Breer of believes the earliest Penix could be selected is by the Falcons at No. 8.

This would be an unexpected move by Atlanta, considering the team’s sizable offseason commitment to Kirk Cousins. However, since Penix has generally been viewed as less NFL-ready than his positional counterparts, the Falcons could secure their QB of the future while also competing now. As Breer notes, the duo of GM Terry Fontenot and head coach Raheem Morris could be enticed by a “Jordan Love-like plan” at quarterback, and they’ll likely be in prime position to select the Washington signal caller with their first-round pick.

While the Raiders could be ready to pounce on Penix at No. 13, there’s been some belief in league circles that the QB could land with the Seahawks at No. 16. The organization has plenty of connections to the incoming rookie. Besides being a local prospect, Penix is also familiar with new Seahawks offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb and offensive line coach Scott Huff, who were both poached from the Huskies staff. We heard similar rumblings surrounding the Seahawks/Penix connection earlier this month.

However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter cautions that the Seahawks may not be a logical landing spot for the quarterback. For starters, GM John Schneider has only drafted a pair of quarterbacks in his 15 years at the helm (Russell Wilson and Alex McGough). Further, the Seahawks are high on offseason acquisition Sam Howell as a future replacement for Geno Smith. Plus, Howell is the same age as Penix and already has 18 games of NFL experience.

If Penix isn’t selected in the top half of the first round, it’s uncertain how far he could fall. Yahoo’s Charles Robinson notes that there are several teams that have a “second-round grade on him or lower.” Penix has continued to be a divisive prospect, with one NFL offensive coach previously declaring him as the No. 2 QB in the draft (behind Williams).

Part of the skepticism is naturally surrounding the player’s injury history, as Penix suffered four season-ending injuries during his time in college. The QB was also knocked for his “scattershot accuracy underneath,” although Penix seemed to alleviate some of those concerns with a strong pro day showing. The varying opinions of the signal caller will make him one of the more intriguing prospects to watch through the first two days of the draft.

Seahawks Beat Out Three Teams For Sam Howell Trade

Before Sam Howell was dealt to the Seahawks, the quarterback attracted interest from a handful of other suitors. As ESPN’s Brady Henderson writes, at least three other teams negotiated a Howell trade with the Commanders.

[RELATED: Commanders To Trade QB Sam Howell To Seahawks]

One of those squads is believed to be the Rams, who have already pivoted away from Carson Wentz as Matthew Stafford‘s primary backup. When the Rams lost out on the Howell sweepstakes to their division rival, they ended up pivoting to veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, who will miss the first two games of the season after being suspended for PEDs. There was some recent chatter that the Rams could be a suitor for Jets bust Zach Wilson, and it seems pretty clear that the front office was looking to reset the QB depth chart with a veteran backup and a reclamation project.

Ultimately, the Seahawks won out, sending a third- and fifth-round pick to Washington for Howell, a fourth-round pick, and a sixth-round pick. Seattle has made it very clear that Geno Smith still sits atop the depth chart, although general manager John Schneider recently admitted that his newest acquisition could “absolutely” be a full-time starter (via Henderson).

Howell was sacked a league-high 65 times last season. As Henderson notes, part of that blame has been placed on Howell, who has been criticized for holding the ball too long. However, the Seahawks are convinced the QB was “hesitant while playing behind a struggling O-line,” and he could excel with better personnel.

With that in mind, the Seahawks still have work to do on their own offensive line, with both guard spots currently open. Henderson points to free agents Laken Tomlinson and Cody Whitehair as two potential targets for the organization.

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.

Teams Inquiring On Commanders’ No. 2 Overall Pick

Holding the No. 2 overall pick for a second time in five years, Washington has an opportunity it passed on in 2020. A quarterback should be expected to head to D.C. with that draft slot, but other teams are making early efforts to see if the Commanders are interested in moving the pick.

Multiple clubs have inquired about Washington’s interest in trading down from No. 2, according to’s Dan Graziano. Some moving parts exist at quarterback, with some teams that lack top-three draft real estate needing to consider veteran options. But a couple of those teams figure to still need starter solutions — in the long term, at least — exiting free agency. That would naturally make the Commanders’ pick attractive, as this draft holds multiple non-Caleb Williams QB prospects expected to go early.

Heisman winner Jayden Daniels‘ stock is up, with Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft sending the LSU prospect to Washington. Drake Maye had stood as this class’ top non-Williams option for months, and while the ex-Sam Howell North Carolina teammate’s stock may not have definitively dropped to the point he is a threat to fall out of the top three,’s Daniel Jeremiah has moved him down on his latest big board. Jeremiah places Maye at No. 5 and Daniels at 6, though QB demand figures to see both going off the board earlier.

The Commanders, of course, have hired Williams’ most recent position coach — Kliff Kingsbury — as OC. Some around the league believe Kingsbury brings strong Williams support, per Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano, though that would not exactly matter barring a seeming Bears course change. For weeks, it is believed Chicago would need to receive a historic offer to part with the No. 1 pick for a second straight year. With all signs pointing to the team trading Justin Fields and going with Williams, Kingsbury’s interest in a reunion would be a moot subject.

None of the quarterbacks Washington chose in the first round in its modern history — Heath Shuler, Robert Griffin III and Dwayne Haskins — panned out, but it would still surprise to see a new regime pass on filling its QB need at No. 2. New football ops president Adam Peters is indeed likely to authorize a quarterback choice at 2, Vacchiano adds.

The team could collect a haul for that draft slot, as teams like the Giants, Vikings, Broncos and Raiders — mentioned as being interested in Daniels — being among those who would stand to be interested in coming up for a passer. Though, it would be rather astounding if the Commanders did business with the Giants involving a pick this high. By trading down with anyone, the Commanders would be passing on a clear window to upgrade at the game’s premier position if they took the trade route. Early on, the 2025 class does not appear to be a QB-rich group. Even with Peters playing a role in the 49ers’ Trey Lance trade-up, the ensuing Brock Purdy flier probably should not be taken as an indication the new boss believes a quarterback can be a later-round addition.

As for the Commanders’ 17-game starter from last season, Vacchiano adds Howell will likely draw trade interest from several teams if Washington made him available. Peters spoke highly of Howell this week, and the 2022 fifth-rounder’s age (23) and contract status (two rookie-deal years remaining) would naturally make him appealing — even as a host of bridge- or backup-level QBs are set to be available soon. For now, Howell appears positioned to be the Commanders’ backup in 2024 — or at best likely to lose his job once the No. 2 overall pick is ready to play.

Washington passed on drafting a QB in 2020 due to having chosen Haskins 15th overall the year prior. The team left Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert on the board that year, choosing eventual Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young. It does not seem likely the NFC East franchise would make a similar move with the second overall choice this time.

Latest On Jets QB Zach Wilson

It was reported last month that the Jets plan to trade quarterback Zach Wilson, which was not at all surprising given Wilson’s largely disappointing three-year run with the club. Subsequent reports suggesting that the Wilson-Aaron Rodgers relationship was not in a good place, coupled with owner Woody Johnson‘s candid remarks about his team’s quarterback situation, underscored the likelihood of a Wilson exit.

To that end, Wilson himself has begun to evaluate trade options, as Jeremy Fowler of recently detailed (subscription required). Gang Green selected Wilson in head coach Robert Saleh‘s first draft with the team, which means Wilson has never worked under an offensive-minded HC; per Fowler, the BYU product is interested in a bench boss with more of an offensive background. It is unclear whether the Jets have granted Wilson permission to seek a trade at this point, though the fact that Wilson is likely not near the top of the wishlist for QB-needy clubs means that a deal may not be consummated before the draft anyway.

Wilson, who will turn 25 before the start of the 2024 regular season, was supposed to serve as Rodgers’ backup in 2023. But when Rodgers’ season was cut short just four snaps into the campaign, Wilson was against thrust into the starting lineup. Playing behind an injury-riddled O-line and under an offensive coordinator (Nathaniel Hackett) who has been criticized for his inability to adequately adjust to the Rodgers injury, Wilson did not show much improvement over his prior work, completing 60.1% of his passes for eight TDs and seven interceptions. That amounted to a QBR of 30.6 (worst among primary starters) and a quarterback rating of 77.2 (third-worst). The Jets went 4-7 in his starts.

Rich Cimini of thinks it is unlikely that the Jets will simply cut Wilson — aside from the embarrassment such a move would be for the team, a pre-June 1 cut would yield a dead money charge of over $11MM with no corresponding cap savings — though their trade return will obviously be limited. Cimini’s sources believe that Wilson will fetch a sixth- or seventh-round selection, and that a swap of middle-round picks is also a possibility. One exec also floated the idea of a conditional 2025 selection (with the condition being how many snaps Wilson takes for the acquiring team in 2024).

One way or another, it sounds as if Wilson has played his last snap for the Jets, as Johnson made it abundantly clear that New York will need a new No. 2 passer. Interestingly, Connor Hughes of writes that some within the organization are high on Commanders QB Sam Howell, who just finished a disappointing season of his own.

There is no indication that Washington, which is likely to select a top quarterback prospect with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, is prepared to deal Howell, who led the league with 21 interceptions in 2023 but who did show flashes of high-end abiltity. The Commanders may prefer to hold on to the 2022 draftee in case their rookie passer is not immediately ready to take the reins, or simply to have a capable backup on hand. But if the team elects to move him, Hughes believes the Jets should pounce.

NFC East Notes: Commanders, QBs, Bieniemy, Cowboys, Smith, Saban, Giants

The Commanders centered their 2023 offseason on Sam Howell, who had played all of one game as a rookie. While the second-year passer showed some encouraging signs, the team was prepared to bench him for Jacoby Brissett late in the season. Howell did become the first Washington quarterback to go wire to wire as the starter since Kirk Cousins in 2017, but the team lost eight straight games to end the season. It remains likely the Commanders draft a QB at No. 2 overall rather than turn to Howell and perhaps another Brissett-level vet as competition,’s John Keim writes.

Washington held the No. 2 overall pick in 2020 but had just taken Dwayne Haskins in the 2019 first round. This effectively took them out of the Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert sweepstakes, joining the Giants (who had chosen Daniel Jones in 2019) in that regard. Washington then took Chase Young. Timing was an issue for the team then, but Howell’s presence — especially with a new owner, HC and football ops boss in town — is unlikely to represent a sufficient deterrent to impede a QB investment this year. Two years remain on Howell’s rookie contract.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • With the Commanders being the seventh team to hire a head coach, and not doing so until Feb. 1, Eric Bieniemy received confirmation he was out late during this year’s hiring period. The one-and-done Commanders OC signed a multiyear deal in 2023, and’s Jeremy Fowler notes the former HC interview mainstay could well take a year off — as money will continue to come in from Washington — and regroup for a 2025 return to the sideline. Bieniemy, 54, may be off the HC radar; but the longtime Chiefs assistant could well resurface as an OC candidate — particularly given this position’s turnover rate in recent years — in 2025. The possibility the Chiefs bring him back, as they did Matt Nagy, also should not be discounted.
  • Over the past decade and change, the Cowboys have generally done well in the first round. They have landed a number of All-Pros — from Tyron Smith to Travis Frederick to Zack Martin to CeeDee Lamb to Micah Parsons — and a few other regular starters. Mazi Smith‘s trajectory is less certain to produce an impact player. Last year’s No. 26 overall pick played 304 defensive snaps as a rookie and logged only four in Dallas’ wild-card loss. Pro Football Focus rated the Michigan alum as one of the worst D-tackle regulars last season. The Cowboys were displeased Smith dropped around 20 pounds from his Combine weight (323) at points last season, per the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. Drafted as a player who could potentially anchor the Cowboys’ interior D-line, Smith has work to do. The Cowboys also have starter Johnathan Hankins due for free agency in a few weeks.
  • This can be field in the “what if?” department, but as the Giants interviewed Louis Riddick for their GM job — during the cycle that produced the Dave Gettleman hire — the ESPN talent/ex-NFL exec said (h/t Empire Sports Media’s Anthony Rivardo) he reached out to Nick Saban to gauge his interest in becoming the team’s head coach. The Giants interviewed Riddick in December 2017; the ex-Monday Night Football analyst had been up for a few GM jobs around that point. Riddick was also a defensive back during Saban’s tenure under Bill Belichick in Cleveland in the early 1990s. (Saban was the Browns’ DC from 1991-94.) The Alabama icon, who retired last month, was loosely connected to the Giants’ coaching job during the cycle that produced the Ben McAdoo promotion. Saban, who coached the Dolphins for two years (2005-06) before leaving for Tuscaloosa, was not interested in the Giants’ job during the cycle that ended with the Pat Shurmur hire in 2018.

Teams Interested In Ron Rivera; Two-Time HC Not Intending To Retire

Ron Rivera‘s second coaching stint did not go as well as his first. Washington did not finish over .500 in any of his four seasons, and the well-liked HC once again found himself on the outs after a new owner took over.

The former Panthers HC became one of the easiest firings to predict in many years, with Josh Harris allowing him to fire DC Jack Del Rio and coach out the season. Unlike Frank Reich, who is likely to retire, Rivera wants to coach again. After spending the past 13 seasons as a head coach, Rivera said he has options for 2024.

An HC path does not appear to exist for Rivera, but the 62-year-old coach said (via’s John Keim) he has “several opportunities” but is determining the right one. Rivera confirmed he has spoken with multiple teams, but with seven clubs still searching for head coaches, it is still early in terms of staff openings. No HC or coordinator interview requests have come in for Rivera yet, but plenty of opportunities will soon open up. A senior defensive assistant-type role also could be in the cards.

Before Rivera became a head coach, he spent time as a defensive coordinator. He attracted HC interest after overseeing the Chargers’ defense from 2008-10; the ’10 unit ranked first overall. An ex-Bears linebacker, Rivera worked as Lovie Smith‘s DC from 2004-06, finishing out his second Chicago tenure in Super Bowl XLI. Rivera has been an NFL coach since 1997, beginning his run as a position coach in Andy Reid‘s first Eagles season (1999). Ex-Rivera coordinators Sean McDermott and Steve Wilks reside in prominent positions as well, forming potential landing spots.

Rivera received considerable power in Washington. The team gave him personnel authority to start his tenure, not hiring a GM for a year after its HC hire. Del Rio called defensive signals throughout his tenure, however, leaving Rivera as a CEO coach. Washington has since proceeded to prioritize its president of football operations position, which went to Adam Peters. Rivera prefers the GM-centric model Harris and Co. have launched.

I would’ve loved a different model just because, in hindsight, now you really see how much more time you spend on personnel and as a coach, that’s not necessarily what you want to do,” Rivera said, via Keim. “What I really enjoyed more than anything else the last five weeks was just being right in the middle of everything. Now your only focus is just that one thing. That’s what you do; you want to teach.”

Regarding the Commanders’ on-field approach, Rivera second-guessed his Sam Howell strategy. The Commanders heaped praise upon the 2022 fifth-round pick during the ’23 offseason, starting it last January. Rivera proceeded this way despite the North Carolina alum effectively redshirting as a rookie before playing in the season finale. While Rivera still views Howell as a starter-caliber QB, he regrets anointing him early. That made it rather easy to predict the winner of the faux competition that formed between Howell and free agent pickup Jacoby Brissett.

I took a big gamble. I put a lot on Sam, and I probably shouldn’t have put as much pressure on him, and I think that was probably one of the mistakes I made this year,” Rivera said. “He didn’t deserve to have that put on him. He’s a good young quarterback, has some talent and some ability and I think that’s something I should have backed off on.

I should have kept emphasizing he was going to be the guy that got the first opportunity … just phrasing it that way would’ve taken a lot of pressure off of him, just kind of that he hadn’t been anointed.”

Howell’s starter season produced Washington’s first wire-to-wire QB starter since Kirk Cousins in 2017, but a lengthy losing streak secured the 4-13 Commanders the No. 2 overall pick. It should be expected the team will look closely into this year’s QB class, with mock drafts already sending Howell’s Tar Heels successor — Drake Maye — to the nation’s capital.

Commanders To Start Sam Howell In Week 17

DEC 30: Despite the Commanders seemingly moving towards Brissett as their starter at quarterback for the remainder of the season following two consecutive games in which Howell was benched, it looks like injuries will keep Howell in place under center for this weekend, at least. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, Brissett will be sidelined in Week 17 with an aggravated hamstring injury. With Brissett out this week, Howell will return to the starting role. Practice squad pass Jake Fromm will be signed to the active roster in order to back up Howell against the 49ers.

Joining Fromm on the 53-man roster from the practice squad will be long snapper Tucker Addington and offensive tackle Alex Akingbulu. They will also be joined by safety Sean Chandler and cornerback Nick Whiteside, who will serve as standard gameday practice squad elevations tomorrow. Fromm, Addington, and Akingbulu will be filling the roster spots left vacant by offensive tackle Charles Leno, safety Percy Butler, and center Tyler Larsen, who were all placed on injured reserve today.

DEC 27: After an aggressive quarterback pursuit in 2022, the Commanders stood down this year and centered their offseason around Sam Howell‘s development. Howell has started throughout the season; that is about to change.

Washington has benched the second-year QB in back-to-back games, and after Jacoby Brissett provided a spark in each, Ron Rivera said the veteran will receive his first start of the season in Week 17. Brissett, who signed a one-year deal this offseason, has already started for four teams throughout his career. This will be Brissett’s 49th career start.

This decision can be interpreted in multiple ways. On one hand, Rivera is almost definitely coaching his final games with the Commanders. He has long been viewed as on his way out after his fourth season. Front office changes are also expected, so this staff’s view of Howell may not matter much. But the team has also been linked to pursuing another starter-caliber QB in 2024 to at least push Howell. The Patriots’ upset of the Broncos in Week 16 moved the 4-11 Commanders into the No. 3 draft slot, and with the Cardinals not certain to select a QB at No. 2 — where they currently reside — Washington could be in position to make a major investment in Josh Harris‘ first offseason running the show.

Brissett, 31, has started for the Patriots, Colts, Dolphins and Browns throughout an interesting eight-year career. He has been one of this era’s premier backups, being thrust into duty twice on short notice and again later due to Deshaun Watson‘s suspension. The Colts turned to Brissett soon after acquiring him via trade in 2017, with Andrew Luck‘s troublesome shoulder injury requiring a full-season absence. A better Brissett version resurfaced in 2019, when Luck abruptly retired. The Colts then gave their regularly used backup a two-year, $30MM extension. Brissett could not command those terms in 2021 (with the Dolphins) or ’22 (Browns), but he made 16 starts in that span.

The Commanders gave Brissett a one-year, $8MM deal in March. While the team held a competition for the starting job, the Howell praise that persisted during the offseason pointed to the second-year passer winning that battle. Howell has shown flashes, but after struggling during a Commanders six-game skid, the North Carolina product has encountered some early turbulence. Despite two games remaining, Howell has joined only Watson (2018) as QBs to be sacked at least 60 times in a season over the past 17 years. The North Carolina alum has been dropped 60 times this season. Howell also leads the NFL with 17 INTs.

This Brissett move likely ensures Howell will not move close to David Carr‘s single-season record for sacks taken (72 in 2002), but it also points him toward an uncertain path after making all 15 starts for the Commanders this season. The team initially turned to Howell in Week 18 of last season, with the rookie leapfrogging Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke on the depth chart. A new HC-GM combo will be poised to assess Howell in 2024.

Commanders Could Be In On USC QB Caleb Williams

While several items concerning the 2024 NFL Draft are still up in the air, the fact that USC quarterback Caleb Williams is considered a top prospect seems to have been set in stone for a little over a year now. With plenty of speculation leading into the new calendar year, Dan Graziano of ESPN reports that “there’s some thought around the league that Washington is very interested in Caleb Williams.”

Now, Williams is a popular bet to be the first name called in the draft as the No. 1 overall selection, a pick that the Commanders (4-11) are not currently in the position to make. That pick is currently owned by the Bears, who are in possession of the Panthers’ (2-13) first round selection. Carolina does not have the league’s worst record wrapped up, though. The Cardinals (3-12) could lose out and take the top spot should Carolina win a game. If Carolina wins out and Arizona wins a game, the Commanders and Patriots (4-11) could lose out and create a logjam at 4-13.

In the case that all four teams end up with the same record, the first tiebreaker is based on strength of schedule, with the team possessing the weakest strength of schedule getting the highest draft pick. Currently, the Commanders hold the weakest strength of schedule of those four teams, but with remaining games against the 49ers and Cowboys (the strongest remaining schedule in the league), that could change. Still, Washington holds an outside shot at possessing the top draft selection naturally.

If that doesn’t pan out, though, the Commanders could still attempt to acquire the pick in a trade. We saw the Panthers give up a bundle in order to obtain the top draft pick just last year. That bundle included a top player (D.J. Moore), two first-round picks (2023 & 2024), and two second-round picks (2023 & 2025). A similar bundle would be necessary in order for Washington to move up, though trading another top-five pick could help sweeten the pot on its own. The Commanders traded away a couple of top defenders in Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the deadline, so they’ve stocked up a few assets that they could deploy if necessary.

The bigger question comes with the team’s current quarterback situation. It was initially thought that the picks acquired in the above-mentioned trades would be used to build around second-year passer Sam Howell, whom most tabbed as the team’s next franchise quarterback. A month and a half later, though, and Howell has now been benched in two straight contests in favor of veteran Jacoby Brissett.

It’s become the popular opinion that Washington will be pursuing an addition to their quarterbacks room in the offseason. Many have called to watch the final two weeks of the regular season as an indicator for Howell’s future. Well, with Brissett set to start in Week 17, we may be seeing the end of Howell’s opportunity in Washington.

Enter Williams. A native of Washington, D.C., Williams has nearly guaranteed that he will be the top passer off the board, if not the top player off the board. It seems like, given the available options, the Commanders could certainly be all in on Williams given the chance. If Washington is unable to obtain the top pick and Williams is selected before they have a chance to draft him, North Carolina quarterback, and Howell’s former college teammate, Drake Maye would likely be the next top quarterback available in the draft, creating an interesting scenario in its own right.

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.