The Commanders’ quarterback situation has been unsettled for years, a trend that continued in 2021. After an injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick, the team’s Week 1 starter, Taylor Heinicke and Garrett Gilbert both started games, while Kyle Allen made a couple of appearances.
Since Kirk Cousins’s departure in 2017, the team has struggled to find a solution at the position. Washington acquired Alex Smith, whose career was derailed by his significant 2018 injury. Dwayne Haskins, a former first-round pick, flamed out and spent this season as a backup with the Steelers.
Coach Ron Rivera sees how the Matthew Stafford trade between the Lions and Rams helped reshape the league this year. A couple weeks after sources told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that Washington was ready to take a swing at a veteran passer, Rivera told ProFootballTalk that he’s certainly open to make that sort of big move for a veteran quarterback.
“I think what Detroit did was masterful,” Rivera said. “Why? Because of the picks they’re going to have. They’re building for the future. They went out and they got a new head coach a year ago and said, ‘Hey, let’s see what we can build into.’ So they let Matthew go and gave him an opportunity. Now, look where he is.
“Matthew, a veteran guy, has gotten his opportunity and shown people what he’s capable of. Let’s see what happens the rest of the way. Would we love to have something like that? Yeah. If the right situation is available, we want to get in on it.”
There may be some veteran signal callers available this offseason. There have been months of rumors about the futures of Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, while other players like Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr could conceivably become available if their teams decide to go in other directions.
Washington reached the playoffs in 2020, its first season under Rivera, as 7–9 NFC East champions, nearly knocking off the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in the wild-card round. The team finished 7–10 in 2021, missing the postseason.
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