Rivera says finding franchise QB is a top priority for WFT this offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
In Ron Rivera's first season as head coach, the Washington Football Team was able to win the NFC East division despite playing four different quarterbacks during the regular season.
Moving forward, though, Rivera knows that in order to create sustained success in Washington, stability at the quarterback position is vital.
During the head coach's end of season press conference on Sunday, Rivera made it clear that figuring out the future of the QB position is a top priority for his club this offseason.
"The quarterback is probably one of the most important things we have to get done and get established," Rivera said.
Of the four different passers Washington played this season, only one -- Alex Smith -- is under contract next season. Kyle Allen is set to become an exclusive rights free agent, while playoff standout Taylor Heinicke will be an unrestricted free agent. Washington released Week 1 starter and 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins last month.
It's no guarantee that Smith returns to Washington next season, either. The 36-year-old -- who completed one of the most remarkable comebacks in sports history this season -- said on Sunday that he will take a few weeks to discuss with his family whether he wants to continue playing or not.
Rivera isn't sure if Smith will return next season, either.
“Well, that obviously is really—in terms of his health—really the only person that can tell you that is going to be Alex," Rivera said. "We’re going to go from there.”
For Washington, there is no clear path to finding that franchise quarterback. The 2021 QB free-agent class isn't exactly filled with talent beyond Trevor Lawrence, and Washington's first-round pick (19th overall) likely puts them out of contention to land one of the draft's top prospects. A trade for veterans Matt Stafford or Matt Ryan isn't out of the question, but would require significant draft capital.
On either Sunday or Monday, Rivera said he plans to meet with team owner Dan Snyder to discuss his intentions for the offseason, both at quarterback and with the rest of the roster.
"I will visit with the owner [Dan Snyder] at some point whether it’s tonight or tomorrow and basically talk to him about my intent going forward," Rivera said. "From that point on, we’ll start the evaluation process of our football team. Obviously, the quarterback situation will be one of the topics of conversation."