Who is the one free agent the Commanders can’t afford to lose?

Free agency is one week away, and the Washington Commanders have an NFL-high $91.5 million in salary cap space, according to Over the Cap. Tuesday’s franchise tag deadline passed without the Commanders using the tag on anyone. Safety Kam Curl would have been the most likely to receive the tag, but it was not a consideration for Washington this time.

At this time next week, close to 30 Commanders will be free agents. There will be starters and key reserves looking to sign new deals in Washington — or elsewhere.

The Commanders’ top free agents are cornerback Kendall Fuller, wide receiver Curtis Samuel and Curl. Washington has the ability to keep several of its own free agents and add some from the outside, but with a new regime, there will be plenty of changes.

If you’re general manager Adam Peters, who is the one free agent you can’t afford to lose?

CBS Sports recently looked at one free agent from every NFL team that it couldn’t afford to lose. Fuller was the choice for Washington.

Kendall Fuller is one of the best defensive backs available this offseason: His 83.1 PFF defensive grade is the sixth-best among cornerbacks who played at least 100 snaps last season. Fuller, who snagged two interceptions, was one of the few bright spots on what was the NFL’s worst defense last season since their unit was the lowest ranked team in scoring defense (30.5 points per game), total defense (388.9 total yards per game), passing touchdowns (39) and passer rating (105.7).

Keeping Fuller around for the Dan Quinn era could pay massive dividends since Quinn took a Cowboys unit in 2020 that was dreadful and helped flip them into a top five group within a few seasons.

Curl’s age is certainly a reason for him to be the choice. However, we agree with CBS here. Why? Fuller’s age and knees are a concern, but it isn’t easy to find good cornerback play. Fuller may move to the slot or even safety, but he will thrive anywhere he lines up.

The Commanders’ secondary was bad last season, but the new coaching staff will get more out of this group. Sure, Washington will need to add to the defensive backfield, but letting go of its best player (Fuller) wouldn’t be a great start.

Of course, Fuller’s potential return will come down to cost. Washington ha the money, but will it choose to go younger?

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire