Ron Rivera named an NFL ‘free-agency loser’ thus far
Ron Rivera is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Washington Commanders. In addition to his role as head coach, Rivera is also essentially the general manager of the Commanders in the “coach-centric model.”
Last week, Washington added multiple new players in free agency and made the biggest move of its offseason by re-signing defensive tackle Daron Payne to a new four-year deal.
The Commanders also signed veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett is expected to compete with/push/mentor Sam Howell, who is entering his second NFL season. Brissett had a quality season for the Browns last season until Deshaun Watson’s return forced him to the bench. He gives Washington a solid backup plan if Howell can’t win the job outright. Brissett could also keep the Commanders in the playoff race if Howell plays, then struggles and is benched.
It’s Brissett and Howell at quarterback for Washington in 2023. While the Commanders could add another in the NFL draft, it won’t be a high pick. If Brissett starts a game for Washington next season, he will become the ninth quarterback to start at least one game for Rivera during his four seasons.
That type of instability led one CBS writer to label Rivera a “loser” through the first week of free agency due to the Commanders’ lack of ability to find a franchise passer.
You might’ve swapped Commanders QB Sam Howell into Rivera’s place here, seeing as Jacoby Brissett’s arrival via free agency may well spell the end of Howell’s tenure as QB1 before it began. But the real loser has to be the man up top, who — barring a blockbuster move up for a QB in the draft — will enter his fourth season as Washington’s coach simply extending a marriage to middling veteran signal-callers. From Alex Smith to Ryan Fitzpatrick to Carson Wentz to Taylor Heinicke, Rivera has never fielded a sustainable winner under center, and the trend appears destined to continue, even though the team wisely added Chiefs tackle Andrew Wylie for better protection up front.
There will be a lot of pressure on Rivera to win in 2023. Will Washington’s lack of ability to find a franchise quarterback doom them? Or will Howell prove to be the answer?