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Commanders GM: WAS Won't 'Rule Out' Adding Veteran QB After Carson Wentz's Struggles

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2023

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 01: Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders throws a pass during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FedExField on January 01, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders plan to keep their options open at quarterback heading into the offseason after finishing 8-8-1 in 2022.

"We're not going to rule out acquiring a vet," general manager Martin Mayhew said of the quarterback situation, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. "We're going to look at the entire landscape."

Mayhew said it will be a similar process to last season, when they considered free agency, trades and the draft to find help at the position.

Washington acquired Carson Wentz in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts last March, dealing away two draft picks along with a swap of second-round selections. Wentz struggled mightily with his new team, totaling 11 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in eight games (seven starts).

His 32.7 Total QBR in 2022 was the second-worst among 31 qualified quarterbacks.

Wentz is under contract for two more seasons, but the Commanders can save $26.2 million against the salary cap by trading or releasing the 30-year-old, per Spotrac. It provides little incentive to hold onto veteran quarterback.

Taylor Heinicke gave Washington a different option under center and excited fans while winning five of his first six starts. But he still had limited production with 12 touchdown passes and six picks in nine starts, averaging just 206.6 passing yards per game.

The 29-year-old is a free agent this offseason and might not have done enough over the past two seasons to justify a new deal.

It leaves rookie fifth-round draft pick Sam Howell as the top option going forward, especially after flashing his upside in the Week 18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The former North Carolina star totaled 169 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception in the win.

Washington could still use a proven veteran at quarterback rather than trusting a player based on one start.

With a defense that ranked third in total yards allowed and an exciting receiving corps with Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, the Commanders won't need much to get into playoff contention. It could make this a quality destination for a quarterback seeking a change.

Veterans Derek Carr, Tom Brady, Geno Smith, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Mike White and Marcus Mariota are among those who could be available either through free agency or trade.