After signing Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency, the Washington Football Team has its presumed starter for the 2021 season. The club also re-signed both Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen this offseason, too.
Despite having three quarterbacks under contract for the 2021 season, head coach Ron Rivera has not ruled out the idea of picking a quarterback in next month's draft. Washington currently holds the 19th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft meaning they'd almost certainly have to trade up in order to get the signal-caller of the future they'd like.
Speaking on his podcast The GM Shuffle, NFL analyst Michael Lombardi said on Wednesday that he believes Washington "loves" North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance and could see Ron Rivera making a major trade for the 21-year-old QB.
"I think Washington is going to be the next team to unload all their picks to try to get a QB," Lombardi said. "I think they love Lance. I don't think, I know Washington loves Lance. So, will they trade up to get Lance? That remains to be seen."
The first three picks in the draft belong to the Jaguars, Jets and 49ers -- in that order. All three teams are expected to take quarterbacks with those picks, with Clemson's Trevor Lawrence expected to go first and BYU's Zach Wilson to follow. Who San Francisco takes at third remains uncertain, but signs are pointing towards Alabama's Mac Jones.
With this being the case, the draft truly begins at the fourth pick, one that currently belongs to the Falcons. However, reports surfaced yesterday that Atlanta is willing to move back from the pick, should a QB-needy team like Washington want to trade up for that selection.
Lombardi doesn't think Washington will strike a deal with Atlanta right away. He believes the asking price is too high for what Washington is willing to pay.
"They're going to wait for the draft. And, if Trey Lance starts to slide, they're going to go get his ass," Lombardi said. "They're gonna go get his ass. 'We're going to react to what happens in front of us.' He's not lying. Ron [Rivera] is just being totally honest."
But, if Lance makes it past the fourth pick in the draft - by Atlanta or whatever team trades up into that spot - the analyst thinks Washington could make a move.
"I think they want Trey Lance. I think they're willing to go get him. I think they want to do it in a way to where they can minimize their cost," Lombardi said. "And so the only way you can do that is get on the clock and wait for that draft to start and wait for who goes four, who goes five, who's at six. Maybe I can get to six and they'll be willing to move down [to 19] and I'll give them next year's [first-round pick] and yada yada yah. And move on that way."
If Washington were to select Lance, he would not be put into action right away, especially after adding Fitzpatrick in free agency.
In an ideal situation, Lance could sit for a year behind Fitzpatrick -- who has mentored multiple young quarterbacks in the past, including Miami's Tua Tagovailoa in 2020 -- before taking over as the team's franchise QB in 2022.
"I think they want competition. Fitzpatrick is going to be the starter opening day. I don't think there's any doubt about that. The reality of this is how long can Fitzy go for. And he's the perfect guy," Lombardi said. "Say they draft Trey Lance and they got Fitzy, Taylor Heinicke and they got Kyle Allen over there. So they let Fitzy start the season off, they redshirt Lance and they go into 2022 ready to go. They've got their quarterback for the future."