Jacoby Brissett named the NFL’s No. 2 backup quarterback

The Washington Commanders decided after the 2022 NFL season in January that they were moving forward with Sam Howell at quarterback in 2023.

The Commanders have been criticized for the move, but Howell impressed coaches and his teammates throughout practice last season, and during the one game he started in a Week 18 win over the Cowboys.

While Washington planned on going with Howell, there would be a strong backup plan. The Commanders were looking for someone who could push Howell in a competition and serve as a mentor. They had the perfect candidate in Taylor Heinicke. However, Heinicke signed with the Atlanta Falcons early in free agency.

Washington quickly shifted its attention to Jacoby Brissett. While the Commanders would only go to a certain amount with Heinicke, that wasn’t the case with Brissett. Washington gave Brissett a one-year contract worth $8 million, $7.5 of which was guaranteed.

Brissett started 11 games for the Browns last season while Deshaun Watson served his suspension. When Watson returned, Brissett moved back into a reserve role, but ask anyone who watched Cleveland last season, and it’s clear that Brissett was the better quarterback in 2022.

The Commanders were happy to land Brissett. While Howell will be given every opportunity to win the starting position, it will not be handed to him. And if Howell does start — and struggles — Washington can confidently turn to Brissett to keep the team in contention.

Gilberto Manzano of Sports Illustrated recently ranked the NFL’s top backup quarterbacks. Brissett was high on the list. How high? How about No. 2, behind only Andy Dalton of the Carolina Panthers.

Last season, Brissett didn’t produce many wins in Cleveland (4–7 while filling in for Watson), but he managed a productive offense, proving why he remains one of the best backups in the league. He helped wide receiver Amari Cooper find his footing with the Browns and did enough in the passing game to maintain a balanced attack for running back Nick Chubb. Brissett has started 48 games in his seven-year career, throwing 48 touchdowns against 23 interceptions.

Before free agency in March, the three quarterbacks Washington was most linked with were Brissett, Dalton and Heinicke. Interestingly enough, Heinicke came in at No. 4.

The Commanders are in good hands with Brissett supporting Howell in 2023, or if he needs to play.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire