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Washington Commanders’ Ron Rivera declares Sam Howell starting QB

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera broke some news on Tuesday from the site of Super Bowl LVII in Arizona, pretty much declaring the end of the Carson Wentz era in Maryland.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio asked about the Commanders’ quarterback situation and young signal caller Sam Howell. Rivera’s response was rather interesting.

“The biggest thing we decided is he will start out as QB1. He will most certainly get the first opportunity. We go into OTAs and minicamp, he’ll be QB1. He’ll fight for that position. We’ll give him every opportunity to earn it, and we’ll see what happens when we get into training camp and through it.”

Washington Commanders’ Ron Rivera on Sam Howell

Not a single mention of Wentz. After being benched at times throughout an injury-plagued first season with Washnigton, it’s become clear that Wentz is not goint to be back with the Commanders.

The struggling veteran is slated to count $26.18 million against the cap in 2023. Washington can save that entire sum by releasing the former No. 2 pick.

Related: Washington Commanders’ Carson Wentz and the NFL’s highest-paid QBs

Washington Commanders quarterback situation heading into the offseason

washington commanders quarterback sam howell
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to Wentz likely joining the unemployment line, part-time starter Taylor Heinicke is slated to hit NFL free agency. He also doesn’t appear to have a future in Washington.

Rivera spoke on the Washington Commanders’ quarterback situation in his sit down with PFT. He made it clear that the team is not going to invest a whole lot on the position this offseason.

“I think the biggest thing is we have to find a guy to come in that’s going to compete, but in terms of finding a guy you’re going to have to spend a lot of capital on, no. We’re not looking for a guy we’ve got to spend a lot of capital on. We’re looking for a guy that’s going to come in and compete first and foremost.”

Ron Rivera on Washington Commanders quarterback plans

This makes it clear that Washington is likely out on the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Derek Carr in trade talks. Impending free agents Jimmy Garoppolo and Geno Smith are also likely out of its price range.

This leaves the likes of Jacoby Brissett, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield as options. In short, Washington is looking for someone to compete with Howell moving forward.

Whether this is a great plan remains to be seen. A fifth-round pick out of North Carolina in the 2022 NFL Draft, Howell threw all of 19 regular-season passes as a rookie, tallying 169 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

With Rivera clearly on the hot seat heading into the 2023 season, one might think that he’d have larger-scale plans at quarterback.

That could potentially be the case if Washington were to bring in someone like San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach Anthony Lynn to run its offense. In this scenario, Garoppolo becomes a real option in free agency.