Washington was aggressive at the trading deadline, unloading both of their young, talented edge rushers, Montez Sweat and Chase Young. The defense was already an obvious and glaring hole, allowing the most points in the league through 12 weeks; with Sweat and Young gone, even their biggest strength on D has evaporated. Veteran cornerback Kendall Fuller, the team’s highest-graded defender per Pro Football Focus, will enter free agency after the season. Clearly, the defense needs significant upgrades.
That might mean the offense does not get the attention it needs, banking on continued growth from young talents like Howell, Dotson, Robinson, and Cosmi. Some of the complementary offensive pieces skew older in age; tackle tandem Charles Leno, Jr. and Andrew Wylie will both be over 30 next year, as will tight end Logan Thomas. The interior line has struggled. And the contract of run-after-catch weapon Curtis Samuel, the team’s second leading receiver, expires after the season. There’s work to do on both sides of the football.
With things in a holding pattern as Snyder prepared for the team’s sale, the Commanders have little in the way of long-term commitments, currently ranking third with nearly $90 million in 2024 cap space according to Over the Cap. That will let them bring back some key free agents, like Fuller, and patch some of the team's holes.
While trading Sweat and Young hurts, the return on those deals puts the team in great shape for the draft. The pick Chicago gave them for Sweat figures to be early in the second round. They also added a compensatory third from San Francisco in the Young trade. That gives them a top 10 pick, two more picks in the top 50, and two more day two selections. That’s a great pool of assets to work with.