Updated: May 5
By Adam Aniba
The loss to Cleveland, who had nothing to play for was just another disappointment under the current regime.
During the post game presser, Ron Rivera was asked if he would start rookie QB Sam Howell (Full Howel '22 Scouting Report) if they were eliminated from playoff contention. Apparently the Commanders head coach didn't even know it was a possibility.
The reporter immediately clarified that if the Packers beat the Vikings, Washington would officially be eliminated. Rivera then gave a cryptic answer about the possibility of the rookie QB starting in the regular season finale vs Dallas.
"I'm not gonna predict anything, let's see what happens."
Although Washington is officially eliminated from the playoffs, getting the rookie QB some valuable snaps should be a priority. Releasing Carson Wentz would save the Commanders $27.2 million against the '23 salary cap, while also dealing with a zero dead cap hit.
As for Taylor Heinicke, many believe at a minimum, he's a premiere backup to have on the team. SItes such as Over the Cap and Spotrac estimate Heinicke's market value at approximately $19 million per season, even though it's unlikely any team will pay anything near that number. The team needs a new direction and bringing back either QB is a lateral move at best.
In saying that, Howell will need competition in training camp. A veteran quarterback such as Andy Dalton who made $3 million in New Orleans will have a market value of less than $6 million a season and has proven to be decent veteran.
Dalton is just one example of a veteran to bring into camp of course. Also drafting a Day 3 developmental QB would be in their best interest, considering a few athletic dual threat signal callers will likely to be available.
The UNC quarterback might not be the franchise savior, but it's worth finding out if he should be a viable option in '23. Dallas likely sits many of their key starters on defense or at least limits them and the idea that "Howell will get killed with the current o-line" is not a legit reason to sit him.
Howell proved to be mobile QB in '21 with 800+ yards rushing during his last year in North Carolina. He also showed touch, accuracy and production as a passer in '20, when the Tar Heels were stacked at receiver and running back (6 UNC WR's and RB's backs drafted in '21).
It's that all too familiar looking towards the draft/free agency time of year for Washington fans, but seeing Howell in some regular season action will give them much needed film going into the offseason and something to potentially build off of.
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