NFL Offseason Previews: Washington Commanders

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NFL Offseason Previews: Washington Commanders


The NFL offseason is upon us, and teams will begin working to craft their 2023 rosters in the coming months. In this series of offseason previews, we will look at what each team has to work with and their biggest needs. Today we continue with the Washington Commanders offseason preview.

As a reminder, here are dates to keep in mind for the 2023 NFL offseason:

  • March 7: deadline for teams to use the franchise tag
  • March 13: legal tampering period opens
  • March 15: NFL free agency begins and the new league year starts
  • April 21: deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
  • April 27-29: NFL draft
  • May 1: deadline for teams to exercise 5th-year options on 2020 first-round draft picks
  • July 15: deadline for franchise tag players to sign an extension

You can find previous team’s offseason previews here: Bears | Bengals | Browns | Lions | Packers | Steelers | Vikings | Ravens | 49ers | Broncos | Rams | Chargers | Seahawks | Raiders | Cardinals | Chiefs | Dolphins | Eagles | Giants | Jets |

2022 Summary

The Commanders flirted with a playoff berth all the way to the final week of the season. Unfortunately, the Commanders fell short and finished the season 8-8-1.

Washington is the definition of mediocre, or as the kids say these days, “mid.” The Commanders have been around .500 since Ron Rivera arrived in D.C. in 2020, and the team has pretty much reached its ceiling with the current nucleus of players.

With the team stuck around the .500 mark and the franchise’s future unclear from an ownership standpoint, it’s not a great time to be a Commanders fan. But, then again, when has it ever been?

Key Positional Needs

Here’s where the Commanders need to find help this offseason:

  • QB
  • CB
  • S
  • LB
  • EDGE

Key Free Agents

Here’s a look at the Commanders upcoming key free agents:

  • Daron Payne (DT)
  • Jon Bostic (LB)
  • Taylor Heinicke (QB)
  • Tyler Larsen (C)
  • Nick Martin (C)
  • Jeremy Reaves (S)
  • Efe Obada (DE)

Salary Cap & Draft Capital

Here’s a look at the salary cap room and draft capital that the Commanders have to work with this offseason:

  • Current draft picks: 16 (1), 47 (2), 97 (3), 118 (4), 152 (5), 193 (6), 215 (6), 235 (7)
  • Cap space: $16.2M

Offseason Outlook

The Commanders have already placed the franchise tag on pending free-agent defensive tackle Daron Payne. So, that will cost them $18.937 million if Payne signs the tender and the two sides do not agree on an extension.

Then there’s the constant question in D.C. of what they should do under center. Taylor Heinicke is a free agent, but I could see him returning as a backup to Sam Howell. The Commanders also likely look at a low-cost veteran QB to compete with Howell in 2023. Washington also released QB Carson Wentz.

Kendall Fuller and Logan Thomas could be two names two watch on the cut market. Fuller and Thomas would save the Commanders nearly $14 million. If they part ways with those two, Washington would be under $30 million in cap space.

If you’re looking for more offseason reading, Sam Hoppen at 4for4 (our sister company) is previewing each division:

NFC East: Key Free Agents, Draft Picks & Needs, and Available Cap Space | 4for4

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.