The Washington Football Team is not interested in Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. At all.
Multiple sources explained that to NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday after an internet rumor connected trade talks to the Burgundy and Gold with the former Alabama star.
But that doesn’t mean Washington isn’t interested in a quarterback.
Speaking with league sources it has become clear that Washington is not enamored with any of the 2022 quarterback prospects even though it looks like the Football Team could hold a high pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
Without a star college passer to fixate upon, Washington has to look around at options.
Sure it’s possible Aaron Rodgers breaks free from Green Bay or Russell Wilson splits from Seattle, but does Washington seem like the landing spot at this point given their 2-4 start and struggles on the defensive side of the ball?
Be honest and the answer is no.
A million reports during the summer of 2021 showed Rodgers wanting to eventually land on the West Coast. As for Wilson, his agent previously laid out four cities the Super Bowl winning quarterback would allow for trade, and none of them were Washington.
Maybe a veteran passer like Matt Ryan or even Derek Carr could emerge as a candidate, but Washington has been reticent to pay for non-elite QBs for some time. The organization refused to pay Kirk Cousins his market value, and last year the team decided to go the Ryan Fitzpatrick route instead of trading big or paying big.
"They're Wal-Mart shoppers," one NFL agent said of Washington. "They're looking for bargains. Look at the track record."
Despite an outdated reputation as reckless spenders, the reality is Washington doesn't open up owner Dan Snyder's wallet wide very often anymore. Currently the team has the sixth-most salary cap available and for much of the last decade Washington has eschewed chasing high-price free agents.
Last offseason Ron Rivera targeted a pair of pricy free agents in receiver Curtis Samuel and cornerback William Jackson, but neither player cracks the Top 10 in 2021 salary at their position.
Washington hasn't made a league-altering move since the draft picks traded to acquire Robert Griffin III back in 2012. Their biggest name free agent moves of the last decade - DeSean Jackson and Josh Norman - mostly came in bizarre situations where Washington was bidding only against itself.
So if Washington doesn't want to pay big, and is hesitant to give away a bevy of draft picks, what's left at quarterback?
The 2022 draft doesn't look like the answer, and Tua doesn't look like the answer, but a player similar to Tua could make sense. A mobile young QB that's available for an off-the-rack price tag?
There are some players that fit that profile and could look intriguing, though the names won't have jerseys flying off shelves. Marcus Mariota and Mitch Trubisky come to mind. If a quarterback like Ryan Tannehill can reinvent himself, maybe Mariota or Trubisky can too.
It's also worth pointing out that Taylor Heinicke could still have a future with the organization. He's already demonstrated enough that he belongs in the NFL, it just might be he's best suited for a backup role.
Considering the injury history at the position in Washington, a good, dependable backup QB has value. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't the long-term answer. It's possible Kyle Allen could be in the backup conversation too, though unlikely Washington would want to keep both Allen and Heinicke for the long-term.
Here's the thing with Tua - if Ron Rivera really wanted him, the coach would have landed the QB in the 2021 draft.
That didn't happen.
Don't expect it to happen now either, but that doesn't mean Washington isn't looking at all of its options for a quarterback of the future.