Washington Football Team interested in trade for Sam Darnold, Marcus Mariota

By Vincent Frank
Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws the ball against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

It is not yet known whether Alex Smith will return to the Washington Football Team next season. There’s no telling when a decision will be made on that front by either the quarterback or the organization.

What we do know is that Smith recently spoked out publicly about last season in the nation’s capital. In short, the former Pro Bowl signal caller seemed to have portended the end of his career with the Washington Football Team.

Fresh off a surprise appearance in the playoffs, Washington added Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney to its front office. In short fashion, a relatively unknown quarterback in Taylor Heinicke was locked up for the next couple seasons.

What impact will that have on Washington’s quarterback room next season? There’s very little information on that front. What we do know is that Washington is keeping its options open at quarterback. That includes checking on the trade market.

Read More: Washington Football Team quarterback: 5 best replacement options for 2021

Washington Football team interested in trades for Marcus Mariota, Sam Darnold

Washington Football Team: Marcus Mariota
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) warms up before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“Washington continues to explore all quarterback options as it looks to upgrade. The team feels confident Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke could help, but they aren’t viewed as long-term solutions,” ESPN’s John Keim reported recently. “That’s why Washington looked at potentially available quarterbacks, from Sam Darnold to Marcus Mariota.”

Keim went on to note that Washington has a list of five quarterbacks it could be interested in moving forward on the NFL offseason. That obviously includes Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson after Washington missed out on acquiring Matthew Stafford in a trade earlier this offseason.

In terms of the free-agent market, it stands to reason that the Washington Football Team would be interested in Cam Newton. He has a built-in relationship with head coach Ron Rivera dating back to their days together with the Carolina Panthers. James Winston also seems to be a realistic option.

Read More: NFL trade rumors: Latest updates and information for 2021 offseason

Why Sam Darnold would make sense for the Washington Football Team

Washington Football Team, Sam Darnold trade
Sep 27, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) avoids Indianapolis Colts defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (97) in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, the New York Jets want to get a full evaluation of the 2021 NFL Draft quarterback class before making a decision on a Sam Darnold trade. With the Pro Day schedules as they are currently formed, that could delay any trade until the end of March. It’s a less-than-ideal scenario for squads looking to upgrade at quarterback.

As for Washington’s reported interest in Darnold, it makes sense. Both Hurney and Mayhew evaluated him in the lead up to the 2018 NFL Draft. For Hurney, that was as a potential replacement for Cam Newton in Carolina. Mayhew was a part of a San Francisco 49ers front office that loved Sam Darnold coming out of USC that spring.

Selecting 19th overall in April’s NFL Draft, the Washington Football Team is not going to be in position to add a top-flight signal caller. In fact, recent rumors suggest that all five of the first-round talents could be off the board — Alabama’s Mac Jones included.

Taking a chance on Darnold for the 2021 season on the cheap ($5 million estimated cap hit) could make sense for Washington. He’d likely only require a second-round pick in exchange, giving Darnold a chance to compete with those quarterbacks currently on the roster.

Is Marcus Mariota a fit for the Washington Football Team?

Cheap. That’s another theme here. Mariota is slated to count just $10.73 million against the cap next season. Even if Washington were to somehow retain Alex Smith in 2021, the team is still in a great cap situation. Why not have a three-or-four man competition for the starting job come summer time?

A former No. 2 overall pick of the Tennessee Titans, Mariota played well in limited action with the Las Vegas Raiders last season. He’s firmly on the trade block right now and would likely cost nothing more than a mid-round pick. Even if Mariota doesn’t earn the starting job, having someone with his experience as QB 2 could be important for Washington.

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