By Adam Aniba
The Commanders biggest need heading into the offseason has been upgrading the offensive line. Although Ron Rivera took the conservative approach in free agency and didn't make any high end acquisitions, adding former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Andrew Wylie was a solid signing.
Wylie signed a 3-years $24 million dollar deal to presumably play right tackle for Washington, but has experience lining up at guard as well.
The 29 year old UDFA from E. Mich, played for the Colts in '17, but also the Browns and Charges before being signed with the Chiefs in Dec 2017. From 2018-2022 Wylie started 59 games at both RT & RG.
In 2022 Wylie started all 17 reg season games, which included 3 in the postseason (all at RT) and was solid in their Super Bowl victory over Philadelphia. Per ESPN's '22 season O-line Pass Block win rate, Wylie ranked 9th in the metric (measures if an offensive lineman sustains his block for 2.5 seconds).
After the hire of new OC Eric Bieniemy, it was reasonable to think that one of his former players would follow him when free agency kicked off. Wylie was revered by his former teammates/coaches and Bieniemy attested to how valuable Wylie was to the Chiefs success in '22.
Veteran Cornelius Lucas took the majority of snaps at right tackle last season. Sam Cosmi was also used from time to time at RT. So this will be the third starting right tackle in two years for the Commanders.
Cosmi's hand injury was one factor that led to him jumping from RT or RG, but guard looks to be his permanent position moving forward in Washington. Wylie is a clear upgrade over Lucas and Comsi though. In saying that, many in the Chiefs fan base were vocal on social media, stating that Wylie was far better when lining up at guard.
Although $8 million a season is a decent investment for a starting right tackle, Rivera could look for a younger/longterm solution in the draft. It's feasible that if a blue chip right tackle falls to Washington on Day 1 or 2, such as Tennessee's Darnell Wright, Wylie could eventually slide to right guard. So Rivera certainly has options and loves talking about "positional versatility".
Washington also added C/G Nick Gates and OT Trent Scott in free agency to bolster the o-line. Both seem to be depth additions though and likely won't see the field unless an injury occurs.
Signing Wylie was a good start in upgrading the o-line, but more needs to be done. The acquisitions provide Rivera with some options heading into the draft and BPA should be their 1st Round route.
Wylie could be the Commanders starter at RT for the next 3 years. As we've seen though, injuries are common and having the freedom to move him inside makes this an ideal and reasonably priced early offseason acquisition.
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