In need of a story idea for Thursday, Pete Hailey resorted to a tried and true way to generate some inspiration: He asked Washington Football Team fans on Twitter for their opinion about quarterbacks.
Ron Rivera and the front office will likely do something at the position this offseason, but what that something is remains a mystery and may remain one for quite some time.
So, as they mull it over in Ashburn, Pete collected some of the top responses he got to his question — from answers that featured trade proposals to free-agent signings and basically everything in between — and then evaluated them. Below, you'll find those evaluations.
Mark's dreaming big, and that's what I like about Mark (I have never met Mark, but I do appreciate him chiming in). If every option was truly on the table, taking Dak from the Cowboys might be the best of them all — including acquiring Deshaun Watson.
Prescott is slightly older than Watson and, yes, he's coming off of a serious injury, but as long as his recovery finishes smoothly, there's no reason to think he won't be productive for at least another decade.
He'll cost a fortune, but spending all that money might be better for Washington than shipping away draft picks or talented players they already have. Plus, it'd really weaken Dallas.
If Jerry Jones somehow doesn't keep the signal-caller in Big D, Dan Snyder should overnight him a blank check.
A year after trading away their second most notable star, there's a chance Houston one-ups themselves by getting rid of Watson in the near future.
Maybe they decide they won't budge, or maybe their new head coach, David Culley, can calm the 25-year-old down (unlikely). If not, though, there'll be an all-out bidding war around the league to land this leader. The above-suggested offer would certainly make Washington competitive, if not the winner of the sweepstakes.
However, if the Texans called me and told me I could have Watson if I gave them Chase Young, the 19th pick this April and another key pick or two (but not any other firsts), I'd say yes.
It's so early to claim this, but I'm gonna say it anyway: I feel like Young is Canton-bound. He's everything Washington could ask for in a defender and then some. I hope he plays in this area for 20 more campaigns.
But — I believe Watson (without Young) would give the organization a better shot at becoming a legit contender, and maybe even a Super Bowl squad, than Young (without Watson) does. I don't love writing that, and many won't love reading it, but it's just where I'm at.
I just ate Cheerios for dessert. Oh, sorry, I thought we were all talking about stuff that is irrelevant?
I'd argue — actually, I did argue on Wednesday — that Washington can't really afford to keep waiting. People in this area are used to huge swings resulting in strikeouts and, therefore, they don't want Rivera and Co. to fall in that same trap, especially with the progress that was seen in 2020.
Let me sum up my counters to that argument:
- Youngsters like Young, Terry McLaurin, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, Kam Curl, Antonio Gibson, Cole Holcomb and Tim Settle won't all be as cheap as they are now for much longer. That means now might actually be the ideal time to do whatever it takes to bring in an established QB.
- The "offseason champs" thing is pretty tired at this point; for years under Bruce Allen, this club held onto its cash like it was a kid saving up for a new bike. That didn't get them anywhere, just like the wild spending didn't before that. The lesson is that it's more about who's picking the players and not whether you go crazy and bargain hunt. You've got to trust that Rivera, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney make the right choice if they go out on a limb.
- The NFC East was as down in 2020 as any division ever has been. Why let the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles catch up? Aim to bury them!
If this ended up occurring, I'd pick JD McKissic in the first round of every fantasy league I'm in because he'd be slated for 250 targets and 175 catches.
My attitude on the kind of passer I think Washington should be coveting has totally flipped.
When they were really scuffling early on in the schedule, I was sold that they needed to spend premium draft capital on a rookie. With Jack Del Rio's defense turning it on from there and improving to where it is, though, I'd be asking solely about veterans to ensure I don't waste that unit's peak run, which should be about to commence.
As for waiting, no thank you. They aren't looking for a second-string guard, they're looking for a baller under center. Those guys don't just hang around into the early summer.
Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are in my "If I can't snag a stud, I'll settle for any of these fallbacks" category. They absolutely aren't my preference, but Mariota's mobility fits what Rivera and Scott Turner value and Winston, well, you know the deal in terms of what he could do if he cuts down on the turnovers.
Overall, I'm of the thinking that Washington must place at least one new QB on its depth chart before they hit the field again. Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke make a whole lotta sense to me as backups but don't do anything for me as the opening day starters. Either Mariota or Winston would suffice.
No clue how anyone could crave Cam after the way he performed with the Patriots, but one thing I've learned in my brief time covering the NFL is that you should never, ever underestimate how much a coach appreciates players they had success with in previous stops. And when it comes to Rivera, Newton was obviously as instrumental as anybody in Carolina's postseason runs.
Again, the ex-Panther sure seemed washed up in New England, but do not count him out of this discussion.
The 23-year-old is no doubt flawed, but it's intriguing to envision what he could become without Adam Gase in control of his career. If someone can redirect Darnold's path, he'd be a bonafide steal.