It is a essential 12 months for Rivera and Co. as a result of, after a 12 months of reworking, it’s time to point out the brand new items can ship on their promise of a brighter future. These are the staff’s 4 most tough choices headed into this 12 months’s NFL draft.
Easy methods to discover the longer term at quarterback
Rivera has mentioned he doesn’t really feel strain to determine a franchise quarterback this 12 months, but when Washington needs to, it has no simple choices. After being outbid for Matthew Stafford and never discovering a long-term resolution through free company or a commerce, Washington is left trying to the draft. The highest three picks are anticipated to be quarterbacks, and although it’s thought-about a deep class, Washington is probably going out of vary for the consensus top-five prospects at No. 19.
Rivera mentioned Washington has quarterbacks it likes however will react to what occurs forward of it within the draft. If the staff drafts a quarterback this 12 months, there appear to be two choices. The primary is to commerce up excessive sufficient to pick out the fourth or fifth prospect, which is more likely to price plenty of draft capital. The second possibility is to wager on the second tier by staying at No. 19 or ready till the second spherical or later for quarterbacks comparable to Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, Florida’s Kyle Trask or Stanford’s Davis Mills.
Passing on a quarterback altogether stays an possibility. Rivera mentioned at a information convention final week that he believes one of the best route may find yourself being the reverse of what his staff did in Carolina, when the Panthers drafted Cam Newton first general after which constructed the roster round him.
“I’ve seen plenty of groups which have had issues in place, then drafted their quarterback subsequent 12 months,” he mentioned. “This could possibly be a type of conditions the place we put all the opposite items in place after which a 12 months or two from now the fitting man is there and we are able to make that transfer. We’ll see. Once more, you simply by no means actually know till you get there.”
Easy methods to steadiness the brand new front-office voices
Rivera spent the primary stage of the offseason reworking the entrance workplace, and now that he has the veteran executives he wished — Basic Supervisor Martin Mayhew, government vp of soccer/participant personnel Marty Hurney, senior director of participant personnel Eric Stokes, director of professional personnel Chris Polian and director of school personnel Tim Gribble — he wants to search out the simplest method to make use of them.
Rivera mentioned some dynamics have come into focus. Hurney is a highway GM who enjoys scouting; Mayhew is extra of an “workplace man” who prefers watching movie. Throughout free company, Rivera famous Stokes supplied fixed updates on new contracts to assist the staff discover positions of worth. The coach’s activity is conserving all of them working as a staff.
“Everyone’s on the identical web page,” Rivera mentioned. “After we’ve gotten along with the highest guys … it’s type of neat as a result of there’s plenty of expertise in these rooms. Every a type of guys has over 20 years on this league. We obtained older, however I believe we obtained a bit of extra expertise.”
When to deal with remaining positions of want
Washington nonetheless has a number of holes and skinny spots on its roster, together with at linebacker, security, left deal with and tight finish. The entrance workplace should select whether or not to deal with them within the final waves of free company or on the draft, although it appears unlikely the staff would discover greater than depth on the open market. The one addition Washington made this late in free company final 12 months was cornerback Ronald Darby on April 1.
“What we’re going to do is take a step again, proceed our prep for the draft,” Rivera mentioned final week of the staff’s free company plans. “However we’re additionally going to have a look at who’s nonetheless on the market. We’ve focused a few positions that we nonetheless need to take note of and monitor.”
What to do forward of subsequent 12 months’s roster issues
Roster-building is a recreation of whack-a-mole, so whereas Washington fills its wants for this 12 months, it additionally should control issues for subsequent 12 months. This consists of the way forward for key gamers, together with defensive deal with Jonathan Allen, tight finish Logan Thomas, proper guard Brandon Scherff and security Landon Collins.
Allen and Thomas are on expiring contracts however at totally different phases of their careers. Allen is 26; Thomas will flip 30 in July. Washington should determine if it needs to signal them to longer-term offers earlier than the season or wait and see afterward.
The following query is Scherff. The appropriate guard will play on his second straight franchise tag until he and the staff work out a long-term deal by July 15, and Rivera mentioned the edges hadn’t mentioned an extension since he signed his tender a number of weeks in the past. If Washington believes it received’t be capable to retain him subsequent 12 months, it’s going to have an all-pro-caliber gap and will attempt to get forward of the issue by buying an inside offensive lineman.
The final is Collins. Washington should determine whether or not to maintain him at sturdy security after he returns from the season-ending Achilles’ tendon damage he suffered in October. The emergence of rookie security Kam Curl will drive this difficulty as a result of, whereas Curl may shift to free security, he’s seen as higher at sturdy. The staff has leverage as a result of Collins’s play hasn’t equaled his $16.9 million wage cap hit, and he’ll grow to be cut-able subsequent offseason when his contract runs out of assured cash.
The staff has a necessity at linebacker following Kevin Pierre-Louis’s departure, and there was some dialogue within the media about the potential for Collins switching to that place. However Collins not too long ago mentioned on Instagram, in response to a fan’s query, that he wouldn’t play linebacker. ESPN analyst Ryan Clark mentioned Washington should determine whether or not its finest lineup is Curl at free security and Collins at sturdy, or Curl at sturdy and Collins at linebacker.
“Kam Curl has to play,” Clark mentioned. “… So now it’s determining the place Kam matches. Does Landon transfer to dime [linebacker] once they’re in sub package deal? Clearly, [Collins] can match off the tight ends, can play the run, an especially good blitzer and tackler. So now we are able to have Kam on the sturdy security, Landon because the dime backer, a real [middle linebacker] calling defenses.”