Commanders earn lowest offseason grade from SI among NFC East offseasons
The New York Giants entered the offseason with a clear emphasis on taking a major step forward after a surprising playoff berth last season in head coach Brian Daboll’s first year.
One big problem for the Giants entering the offseason was the free-agency status of their two most important offensive players: Quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.
The Giants, who finally have a modern front office, re-signed Jones to a lucrative long-term deal and applied the franchise tag on Barkley. The rest of the offseason was about surrounding Jones with offensive weapons, a new center and adding to an already talented defense.
Mission accomplished. Gilberto Manzano of Sports Illustrated recently handed out grades for the four NFC East teams this offseason and the Giants were on top. The Washington Commanders came in last:
Of course, the Eagles remain the favorites to win the division, although New York’s odds improved.
Manzano had the following to say about the Commanders:
The Commanders had a questionable draft and a quiet free agency heading into a critical fourth season for coach Ron Rivera. The team’s biggest free-agent addition was Wylie, who will help at right tackle, but that won’t solve all the problems on the offensive line. Forbes displayed standout instincts and ball skills with 14 career interceptions in college, but his 6’1″, 166-pound frame is a concern, and Washington took him over other top cornerback prospects, such as Christian Gonzalez, Joey Porter Jr. and Banks. Also, the Commanders are banking on Howell to be the real deal after not drafting a quarterback last month. Howell, a 2022 fifth-round pick, could benefit from the arrival of offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and a talented receiving corps of Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel. And if Howell isn’t the answer at quarterback, Washington can also lean on the experienced Brissett, who did a serviceable job filling in for Deshaun Watson last season in Cleveland.
Questionable draft? The Commanders filled a need with first-round pick Emmanuel Forbes. Of course, the knock continues to be “But he weighs 166 pounds, though.” While that may end up being a problem, it wasn’t a problem for Forbes in the SEC.
If the knock on Washington’s “questionable draft” is it didn’t take a quarterback or offensive tackle in round one, please, let’s rehash this again. Which offensive tackle or quarterback was worth taking at No. 16? The top three passers and top four offensive tackles were gone. The Commanders simply took the best player on their board, which also happened to be a need.
As far as the second round, some had defensive back Quan Martin rated even higher than No. 47.
It’s also important to note that the Commanders entered this offseason with a disadvantage as they were in the process of being sold, which was always going to limit spending big outside of retaining star defensive tackle Daron Payne.