By Adam Aniba
Ahead of the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline on Tuesday, Oct. 31st, Washington's ownership group could be looking to make moves for the future. Although HC Ron Rivera has been the primary roster constructor since taking over in 2020, Harris and company could compel Rivera and the GM's to make a trade/trades.
Rivera has a record 25-31-1 since arriving in Washington and has final say on staff and player personnel.
During this week's presser Rivera was asked his thoughts about the team as the trade deadline approaches.
"We're not going to go around cutting a bunch of players, trading for a whole bunch of people, trying to hire a whole bunch of people. We're trying to develop a young football team to be a very good football team for the future. And that's what we're going to continue to work on".
Washington wil have multiple key free agents in 2024, highlighted by WR Curtis Samuel, RB Antonio Gibson, QB Jacoby Brissett, SS Kamren Curl and CB Kendall Fuller just to name a few. Although it's possible any of these players could get moved before the trade deadline, compensation would be minimal and likely only day 3 draft picks.
The names generating the most trade buzz though are defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Both lineman also happen to be represented by the same sports agency Klutch Sports Group and could net the Commanders early day 2 draft picks.
If Washington's elects not to franchise or re-sign Young (24 yrs old ) and Sweat (27 yrs old), the best they could get in return is 2025 3rd round compensatory picks. Acquiring capital in this upcoming draft should be the goal of ownership though.
Another factor is the complicated formula with compensatory picks, so it's no guarantee the Commanders would get anything if they lose Sweat or Young in free agency.
The loss of Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff and QB Kirk Cousins resulted in 3rd round compensatory picks and should serve as a cautionary tale for the new owners.
The Athletic's Ben Standig stated Washington could be players at the trade deadline on his Standig Room Only podcast.
"They are open to trading these guys(Young/Sweat)."
The Jacksonville Jaguars are rumored to be in the defensive end market and could be one of the "identifiable" teams that have interest in Sweat/Young.
The projected tag # in 2024 for DEs is $21.64M per Over the Cap and the Commanders are estimated to have approximately $91M in available cap next season.
Sweat was a 2019 1st round selection and has recorded at least 7 sacks in each of the last three seasons. The former Mississippi State pass rusher has 34.5 career sacks in 66 career games and thru 7 games this season, he's accounted for 5.5 sacks and 10 QB hurries in seven games.
In comparison, Young heads into his 4th season with 33 games played and has only registered 14 career sacks (5 sacks in '23).
Although Sweat has more statistical production and has been more durable than Young, the younger defensive end could be the one new ownership decides to re-sign or franchise tag in 2024.
Things are definitely complicated with a housecleaning on the way. New coaches, General Manager, front office staff, new scouting staff etc will likely be in place after the season.
Young's marketability and high draft slot could lead to the Harris group investing in him longterm and trading Sweat if the offer is right.
Now what could be expected for potential compensation for either of the Commander defensive ends?
It's just speculation of course, but a package including a '24 2nd rounder and future conditional day 2-3 draft picks would certainly be considered.
Although Washington has been quiet during the trade deadline during the Rivera era, new ownership could be pushing for moves to happen.
Player swaps are another aspect to consider as well, although not as likely with a new staff potentially taking over next season.
Washington's o-line struggles are well documented and help is needed. Denver is rumored to be having a fire sale with multiple players available ahead of the trade deadline.
Offensive tackle Garett Bolles and CB Patrick Surtain ll are two players that certainly will be on teams radars.
It remains to be seen if Denver just wants to sell. They could also be in the market for a high impact defensive end or other players on Washington's roster.
Another offensive tackle that is reportedly on the trade block is Patriots OT Trent Brown. Brown has 377 snaps in 2023 and per PFF has an 86.6 overall grade with only 2 sacks allowed on the season (T-24) and only 2 penalties (T-39).
Tampa Bay's Devin White is another hot name being reported to be on the block. The 25 year old has 521 total career tackles (336 solo), 36 tackles for a loss, 20.5 sacks, 56 QB hits, 17 passes defended, 2 ints, 6 forced fumbles 9 recovered fumbles.
Acquiring White would be a dream scenario for Washington, who's in dire need of a middle linebacker. White has the ability to also play all three linebacker spots.
Although acquiring any of the aforementioned players is not likely to happen, mentioning players potentially on the trade block, at positions of need are noteworthy.
In the end, it would be a surprise if he trade deadline concluded without Washington making any moves. After Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne were extended, the writing was on the wall with it being unlikely that all four lineman would be extended. The odds are slim to none that Young and Sweat will both be back in 2024.
The trade deadline is an opportunity for the Harris ownership group to put their stamp on the organization and potentially acquire draft assets, that will help them in their rebuilding process.