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Daily Slop – 18 Mar 24 – Free agency: Who’s the next guy to sign in Washington?

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By: Bill-in-Bangkok

Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

A collection of articles, podcasts & tweets from around the web to keep you in touch with the Commanders, the NFC East and the NFL in general

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Riggo’s Rag

4 bargain free agents the Commanders could steal in second wave

Commanders could sign Ahkello Witherspoon

Kendall Fuller took his chances elsewhere in free agency as expected. He’ll link up with the Miami Dolphins as Xavien Howard’s replacement opposite Jalen Ramsey. This leaves the Washington Commanders depleted in their cornerback room aside from Benjamin St-Juste, Emmanuel Forbes, and big nickel Quan Martin.

This is a position group the Commanders haven’t strengthened as yet. There is still plenty of time for Adam Peters to identify someone he believes can help. He could also wait for the draft, which has some intriguing options set to be taken over the first two days.

If Peters decides to go down the free agency route, Ahkello Witherspoon is a name worth considering. The cornerback endured some rough luck on the injury front in recent years, but things were looking up in 2023, playing all 17 games and becoming an integral part of the Los Angeles Rams secondary.

Witherspoon gave up just 48.1 percent of targets last season. This is a remarkable figure when one considers how opposing quarterbacks tested him frequently. It’s also the sort of assured coverage capabilities that the Commanders sorely lacked for the most part in 2023.

Field Gulls

5 Qs and 5 As with Hogs Haven on new Seahawks QB Sam Howell

A closer look at Sam Howell from the perspective of a Commanders fan.

1.) Howell took a ridiculously high number of sacks (65) and led the NFL with 21 interceptions. How much of that was due to the performance of the offensive line, and how much of it was Howell making bad decisions with the ball regardless of the pressure in his face?

Howell’s sack problems early in the season were a combination of the offensive line, Eric Bieniemy’s play calling, and Howell try to make plays happen. He held the ball too long, and the coaching staff pounded it in to him to get the ball out faster as the season progressed. Howell’s sack numbers went down, and his interceptions started going up as he forced the ball out faster, whether the play was there or not.

2.) What were some of the positive things Howell did that showed glimpses of a possible franchise quarterback?

Howellitzer’s arm strength can’t be denied. He’s also tough as hell, and not afraid to run the ball when needed. Howell’s processing speed limits his potential but in the right offense, with a decent running game, he can be productive.

Riggo’s Rag

3 free-agent wide receivers the Commanders could sign (and 3 to avoid)

The Commanders need wide receiver help…

Commanders should avoid Michael Gallup

Despite averaging more than 14 yards per catch with the Dallas Cowboys, Michael Gallup was released. He caught just 56 percent of the passes thrown his way with the Washington Commanders’ fierce division rival. That is better than Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but still not good enough in the league today.

Gallup also had trouble staying healthy, and that is just one more red flag. But even if he were extremely durable, you cannot carry a receiver who is almost as likely to drop a ball as he is to catch it. Not when he has played in one of the most productive offenses in the league and only managed one touchdown every four games over the past three seasons.

Commanders could sign Quez Watkins

As with Hunter Renfrow, something happened to Quez Watkins with the Philadelphia Eagles over the past two seasons. He was reasonably productive as a No. 2 wide receiver in 2021, but general manager Howie Roseman knew he could upgrade.

That upgrade was A.J. Brown. Watkins slid into a No. 3 role but his route tree shrunk. Then, last season, he vanished completely.

Of course, something went wrong with the Eagles’ offense in 2023, and Watkins was just one of many players who suffered as a result. Still, he catches 67 percent of the balls thrown his way, and showed in his early years that he could get downfield.

Watkins is not going to be anyone’s primary or even secondary target. But he could be effective further down the pecking order.

Commanders Wire

Commanders sign a former a Dan Quinn cornerback

Sunday, the Commanders signed cornerback Noah Igbinoghene on a one-year deal.

Igbinoghene will come with not much fanfare, but he is known by the Commanders’ new head coach, Dan Quinn.

Igbinoghene played for the Cowboys on Quinn’s 2023 defense. He played in five games, did not make a start and saw action on only 25 defensive snaps and 77 special teams snaps.

In the 2023 season, Igbinoghene scored his first NFL touchdown against the NY Giants.

Podcasts & videos

Former NFL GM Randy Mueller on building a new roster with Kevin Sheehan

Zach Ertz Wants to ‘EARN IT! Each and Every Week’ | Free Agency Friday | Washington Commanders

Washington Commanders Roster Additions Impact on NFL Draft | Mock Draft and Free Agency

NFC East links

Bleeding Green Nation

Is the Saquon Barkley signing a mistake for the Eagles?

In 2020 and 2021, he played a combined 15 games, battling nagging ankle and knee injuries. His explosive first step appeared to sag. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards once in the last four years, gaining 1,312 yards, though, ironically, missed the season finale in January 2023 against the Eagles with a high ankle sprain.

The Eagles were willing to let former St. Joseph’s Prep and Georgia star D’Andre Swift go to the Chicago Bears, after he outgained Barkley last year, 1,049 to 962. Over the last three years, Swift has rushed for 2,208 on 479 carries, averaging 4.60 yards a carry, while in that same time, Barkley rushed for 2,867 on 704 attempts, averaging 4.07 yards a carry. Barkley is a better pass protector, though Swift’s rushing success rate (rush gains of at least 40% of yards required on first down, 60% yards required on second down, and 100% on third and fourth downs denominator by is attempts) far exceeded Barkley, 54.1% success rate to Barkley’s 40.1 % rate.

The Eagles could have utilized that money in far more important areas than running back, and still retained Swift at a reasonable cost (three-year for $24 million/$15.4 million guaranteed). He was not used nowhere near as much as he should have been in 2023, catching 39 passes for 214 yards and a score in earning his first career Pro Bowl in 2023, while Barkley caught 41 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns.

NFL league links


Fox Sports

What can NFL Draft history of top-10 QB selections tell us about the 2024 class?

Since 2011, 28 quarterbacks have been selected within the first ten selections, compared to just 20 quarterbacks coming off the board in the top 10 from 1998 to 2010. Though the hit rate hovers around 40 percent for each group, there are some interesting trends evaluators can take from the data.

Teams valuing experience from top quarterback prospects were likelier to nail the pick, particularly during the pre-rookie pool era (1998-2010). The “hits” averaged 38.5 career collegiate starts compared to just 27.1 starts for the misses. While there has not been a major disparity between the “hits” (29.1 average starts) and “misses” (29.0) since 2011, the experience factor stands out when looking for the common denominator for the “stars” of each group.

With the recipe seemingly established for “drafting and developing” franchise quarterbacks from yesteryear, you would think more teams would follow the plan in the new era. However, that has not been the case since 2011.

Teams have thrown caution to the wind while selecting more inexperienced players and rushing them onto the field. During the new era, six quarterbacks were selected within the top 10 with fewer than 20 collegiate starts, and 18 quarterbacks were drafted with fewer than 30 collegiate starts on their resumes.

Although the “hit” rates from each era are identical at 40% (eight out of 20 from 1998-2010; ten out of 25 from 2011-2022), the odds of selecting a “star” are significantly lower when drafting an inexperienced player.

Fast-forward to the 2024 class, four prospects are vying for top-10 consideration: Caleb Williams (USC), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Drake Maye (UNC), and JJ McCarthy (Michigan). While each is regarded as a blue-chip talent based on their arm talent, athleticism, IQ, and intangibles, the experience varies for each prospect.

Daniels leads the group with 55 combined starts at Arizona State and LSU. Williams checks in with 33 starts, with Maye and McCarthy entering the league with 26 and 28 starts, respectively.


Originally posted on Hogs Haven