This was supposed to be the year where the Washington Football Team took the next step as a competing team, at least within the NFC East. With their defense letting them down instead of helping lead the way, the WFT also dealt with losing their starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a season-ending injury after attempting just six passes.
Needless to say, the 2021-22 football season has been a letdown for Washington fans. Fitz going down gave Taylor Heinicke another chance to show what he can do, but even he’s been benched recently. The other quarterback on the roster is Kyle Allen, but the team doesn’t appear interested in giving him another shot to start either. Allen’s contract also expires after the 2021-22 football year concludes for Washington.
As of now, the only WFT quarterback with a contract past this season is Heinicke and it’s safe to say, he won’t be the team’s long-term solution if they want to get back to the playoffs. Here are four starting quarterback options the Washington Football Team should pursue this offseason.
Draft and develop Matt Corral
One positive from falling short of expectations is the ability to select from elite players in the top half of the NFL draft. Before Week 17, Washington was on track to pick ninth in the first round, they then lost another game, which should improve their position. With no consensus top quarterback projected to go in the top-five, this could mean Washington has a chance to get their pick of the litter.
There’s a lot of evaluating that still needs to be done before April’s player draft, but Matt Corral of Ole Miss could emerge as the top pick of the 2022 QB crop. Though, his leg injury in the Sugar Bowl could set him back, depending on the severity.
Corral is a leader in the truest sense, organizing player meetings, getting obsessed with his work, and generally displays strong leadership qualities. As far as his physical traits, Corral is a threat to use his legs often, and while his speed isn’t anywhere near elite, he can pick up first downs with his legs at the next level. Perhaps his most endearing quality that all can see, is his trademark accuracy.
Corral would immediately offer a better starter than Washington currently has from the day he steps foot in the facility. After playing four years in college for Lane Kiffin, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Corral can make a more immediate impact than a few other signal-callers in the 2022 draft class.
Washington Football Team trades for Tyler “Snoop” Huntley
- Washington Football Team trades: Jonathan Allen
- Baltimore Ravens trade: Tyler Huntley, 2022 fourth-round pick
Tyler “Snoop” Huntley has four career NFL starts on his résumé, but all four have been impressive. For an undrafted free agent, Huntley has already far surpassed any expectations for the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, some might argue he shares some similar qualities as Lamar Jackson, thanks to his blazing speed combined with his ability to complete off-schedule throws.
Though, any team wanting to pry him away from the Ravens may experience difficulties. He’s an exclusive-rights free agent after this season, meaning the Ravens can simply extend him any offer and he’s pretty much bound to take it. Huntley won’t be allowed to negotiate with any other teams.
But, that doesn’t mean a trade is impossible, it just might require some extra compensation due to him having an affordable contract and being under team control.
Washington Football Team acquires QB with Super Bowl experience
- Washington Football Team trades: 2022 second-round pick, 2023 third-round pick
- San Francisco 49ers trade: Jimmy Garoppolo
Head coach Ron Rivera may not love the idea of starting over with a young quarterback needing development. Another rough season and he could be on the hot seat. However, pivoting to a proven starter such as Jimmy Garoppolo could be a nice consolation prize, bridging the gap to their future.
Jimmy G has gone 32-14 in his career as an NFL starter, though his durability is usually what lets him down. He’s made it through just one full season, coming in 2019 when he helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Still, the 49ers have made bigger contingency plans since, by trading three first-round picks for Trey Lance.
It seems increasingly unlikely that Garoppolo will return for another season in San Fran.
- Jimmy Garoppolo contract (2022): $27 million cap hit, dead cap of just $1.4 million if cut or traded
Yet, Garoppolo has proven his merit as a starter, sometimes flashing enough talent to play like a Pro Bowl player at times. Unfortunately, he’s also inconsistent, but he’s still a lot better than what Washington has in their QB room. Acquiring Jimmy G would allow them to take a similar route as the 49ers did, drafting a quarterback and allowing him to develop.
In the meantime, Garoppolo is good enough to help them get back to the playoffs behind a strong defense and developing weapons such as Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin.
Baker Mayfield gets a change of scenery
- Washington Football Team trades: 2022 second round pick, 2023 conditional second round pick, Matt Ioannidis
- Cleveland Browns trade: Baker Mayfield
The Cleveland Browns have yet to commit long-term to Baker Mayfield as their quarterback. Set for free agency following the 2022 season, Mayfield has yet to establish himself as a franchise QB. One could argue his best year came in 2018 when he was a rookie.
Battling through injuries in 2021, Mayfield will need an excellent season to receive a massive payday in his next contract. Or, the Browns could decide to aim higher this offseason, should Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, or Russell Wilson become available.
Based on the possibility of the Browns adding a Pro Bowl QB, Mayfield would need a new home in 2022. Similar to determining his value in contract negotiations, agreeing on trade compensation could get just as complicated.
A former No. 1 overall pick just four seasons ago, Mayfield still offers untapped potential, and we’ve seen him play at a high level before. When the Philadelphia Eagles traded Carson Wentz after also experiencing drastic changes in his level of performance, they structured the deal based off playing-time.
If I’m interested in either signing Mayfield or trading for him, you can bet the agreement would be based on incentives. Whether it’s structured around playing time or accomplishments such as playoff appearances/wins could be the deciding factor.
It still seems unlikely the Browns are ready to move on from Mayfield, but if they do, the Washington Football Team should have interest. The potential for a breakout season is far too intriguing to pass up.