All week long, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will start each morning with a pre-free agency post that answers an important question relating to the Washington Football Team. First up: If the franchise opts to sign a quarterback next week, which quarterback will they sign?
With Alex Smith no longer on the roster, the assumption is that the Burgundy and Gold will make at least one addition to the QB room via the open market. Here's who JP and Pete think that guy will be.
This almost needs to be broken up into categories. The biggest QB prizes won't be available in free agency, so we're not ignoring the prospect of Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson, no matter how improbable, but either move would require a trade. The biggest potential free-agent signing is Dak Prescott, and that seems unlikely, too. Even Sam Darnold would require a trade.
So of the free agent prospects that actually seem available, the biggest name is probably Cam Newton, and I don't expect him to land in Washington. I even reported that last month after speaking with some Washington sources.
That then leaves a collection of veterans with question marks. If Teddy Bridgewater comes available, I think he might be at the top of the list. Ryan Fitzpatrick might retire. Andy Dalton? I guess he's a candidate and has a tie to QBs coach Ken Zampese. Jameis Winston seems likely to return to New Orleans.
It might be cheating, but if I had to guess one free agent QB that Washington will sign, it will be Kyle Allen. Sure, he's only an exclusive rights free agent, but I expect him back in Burgundy and Gold.
I mean... by the letter of the law, JP didn't cheat. That said, he just listed a ton of names and then essentially copped out by going with Allen as his free agent of choice. For a very opinionated person, that's a boring opinion.
However, his listing of options was useful, because it once again highlighted how all of the super-appealing guys aren't that likely for Washington. Drawing connections between the franchise and Watson and Wilson and Derek Carr has been a splendid way to spend time over the past few months, but with free agency now around the corner, it's time to become more realistic.
So, my choice is going to be... Marcus Mariota. The organization was reportedly in recent talks with the Raiders about Mariota until those chats died down. Las Vegas, meanwhile, could use some cap space, and Mariota's contract is one they could get rid of without losing a single dollar. Yet it's that same contract that makes him difficult to move in a swap.
Therefore, I think the Raiders will eventually choose to drop Mariota from their roster, and at that point, Washington will swoop in to get him on a new agreement. Then, Mariota will settle in next to Taylor Heinicke, Allen and perhaps a rookie, and those four will all go into camp with the top spot on the depth chart up for grabs. That'll be chaotic and that'll be fun. Hopefully.