For most teams, a championship window -- meaning the period of years in which it's expected they will compete for a title based on the makeup of the team -- is triggered by a season in which the group comes close to that goal of a championship. It signifies they are on the cusp.
The 2020 season won't be quite that for the Washington Football Team. The goal is to just make the playoffs, and while some believe they could do more than that against the rest of the field, the team isn't a Super Bowl contender. That means the championship window is approaching, but it may still be a few years away.
According to former NFL player, Maryland Terrapin and current ESPN analyst Domonique Foxworth, that's not the case. Much like with a side-view mirror, Washington's window may be closer than it appears to be. How close? Like 2021 close.
“I think, not I think, I know that the Washington Football Team, their Super Bowl window, it opens next season," Foxworth said on ESPN's 'Get Up.'
That's a pretty bold claim from Foxworth given where Washington is at right now. Sure, the team could find itself in the playoffs in 2020. But Washington is currently just 6-7, not world beaters. There are some great pieces on the roster, but also a lot of holes. Namely, the quarterback position. To say contention for a Super Bowl could come in 2021 seems premature, right?
Not to Foxworth, and it stems from how he thinks Washington can build moving forward. Some will argue that the team can't truly take the next step until it constructs a roster based on a star under center, Foxworth thinks it can be done other ways.
“I understand that might shock a lot of people and they don’t look at that team and think they’re a championship contender. But, that’s because we’re stuck in the way we think about building teams," Foxworth said. “Everyone thinks that you need to have a quarterback first to build your team. I think we take for granted that the most important thing in building a team is getting players to play above the price that you’re paying them.”
He has seen Washington do just that in 2020. Foxworth used the examples of Chase Young, Terry McLaurin and Jonathan Allen to further explain his point. All three are top-level players and could eventually command larger contracts. For now, however, they are already playing to that price evaluation without actually costing the team that financial hit.
“They are three elite players. You put them all together, it costs them 20 million dollars for all three of those guys," Foxworth said, "Less than 20 million dollars. That is less than half of what the Cowboys are going to have to pay Dak Prescott next year.”
Therefore, Washington is getting bang for its buck with some of the best players on its roster, allowing them to use those savings elsewhere in free agency.
ESPN host Mike Greenberg agreed with Foxworth's designation, likening Washington to the San Francisco 49ers. That team rode young talent and a good defense to a Super Bowl appearance just a year after being 4-12 earlier in the decade.
However, Greenberg did have one question. While Foxworth may not look at the quarterback as the most important piece in Washington's puzzle, the team will still need a serviceable option under center. Who could it be?
“In my imagination, they’re going to have to go get a veteran," Foxworth said.
There was no specification as to who that veteran could be, but Foxworth made it clear it's not Alex Smtih or Dwayne Haskins. He is impressed with what Smith has done following the injury and praised his resilience, but the ceiling with him under center isn't high enough. As for Haskins, Foxworth can see him being labeled as a "bust" at this point in his career. Both, to Foxworth, are holding back McLaurin's ability to be the best receiver in football.
So, Washington does need to make a change at quarterback. However, it doesn't exactly need to be pricey or flashy.
“They don’t have the quarterback in the building right now," Foxworth said. "They’re going to need an upgrade there, but I don’t believe they need an elite guy.”
That is due to what Washington will have around that quarterback. WIth stars on the roster at a good value, the team has the makeup and financial situation to build a championship roster in a short time.
“To make some key additions next year in the draft and free agency, they should be Super Bowl contenders within the contract of Chase Young in particular," Foxworth said.