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Daily Slop – 4 Mar 24: With Commanders needing a pair of tackles, the shelves appear to be stocked with talent

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By: Bill-in-Bangkok

Photo by Maddie Meyer/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

Commanders and Combine links



NFL combine buzz: Latest intel on free agency, draft, trades

Fowler: Washington has received trade inquiries from teams on the No. 2 pick. While they might not be hard, actionable offers, the interest in moving up is there. Among teams that could be on the QB radar are the Giants (No. 6), Falcons (No. 8), Vikings (No. 11) and Raiders (No. 13). That said, I would be surprised if Washington moved off the pick.

Graziano: There’s a lot of speculation about what the Patriots will do with the No. 3 pick. Some thought early in the week that a trade down was possible, but by the end of the week, the sense seemed to be that the Pats would stay put and take one of the top three quarterbacks. That wouldn’t preclude New England from pursuing a veteran such as former Patriot Jacoby Brissett in free agency, in case it decides it doesn’t want to rush the prospect it selects at No. 3.

Graziano: The sense I’m getting is Minnesota still wants quarterback Kirk Cousins to return, but Cousins has a very specific idea in mind for what he wants in a new contract, and the Vikings so far have not made an offer that matches it. The ball might be in the team’s court at this point. Cousins and his family like Minnesota and would be happy to stay and finish his career there, but it doesn’t sound like he’s willing to offer the team a hometown discount.

Fowler: [G]ood money will be spent on guards this offseason. So many teams need them and have targeted the position, and Detroit’s Jonah Jackson, Miami’s Robert Hunt, New England’s Mike Onwenu and the Los Angeles Rams’ Kevin Dotson are among the top options. Don’t be surprised if some or all from this group command $16 million or more.

Will there be enough seats in the musical chairs for all of them to get paid? It’s very possible. Consider all of the teams that really need guard help, including the Giants, Jets, Panthers and Jaguars.

Several teams believe Saints corner Marshon Lattimore — whose base salary is a paltry $1.2 million due to a restructure — is also available via a trade, and there’s intrigue on Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis III.

Fowler: What will the Chargers do with four marquee players with huge cap hits? Defensive ends Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack and receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams comprise more than half the team’s salary cap, and releasing all four would save $80.8 million in space. Doing that would obviously be shocking, but all four returning in their current contractual state would be a surprise, too.

Riggo’s Rag

6 free-agent offensive tackles the Commanders could sign in 2024

Reinforcements are on the way.

Commanders could sign Mike Onwenu

Mike Onwenu, according to Pro Football Focus, is the highest-rated player on this list not named Tyron Smith. He is also 26 years old and unlike his New England Patriots counterpart Trent Brown, does not have an extensive list of injuries that have been black eyes on a solid start to his young career.

Though most Washington Commanders fans grew tired of hearing Ron Rivera’s catchphrases such as bringing in players with flexibility, Onwenu also comes with the added benefit of having played guard as well, if and when injuries occur.

If brought in to replace the less-than-stellar Andrew Wylie at right tackle, Onwenu would likely be seen as a guy that management believes could man the position for years to come and grow alongside the franchise in their new direction.

If the Patriots are unable to bring him back – and should the Commanders be able to snag him for around $15 million per year on the open market – this would be a wonderful start to finding a new group of men to dawn the once proud burgundy and gold and protect their new quarterback.

Commanders could sign Jermaine Eluemenor

When it comes to the offensive line, the left tackle spot is typically the most important. For obvious reasons, which most of us know.

If the Washington Commanders are serious about winning in the long-term and not chasing the immediate glory of the Dan Snyder days, bringing in a right tackle like Jermaine Eluemenor through free agency – while drafting a stud rookie left tackle early on to hopefully become one of the faces of the franchise we see for years to come – could be an option to consider.

Finishing the year with a 68.5 rating according to Pro Football Focus, Eluemenor played over 900 snaps, giving up five penalties and six sacks. Those are not the best numbers in the world. But over the years, he has gone from a bench player to starting, which is always a steep transition.

If the lineman continues his upward trajectory, he would be a significantly visible upgrade from the 11-sack trainwreck that we saw from Andrew Wylie last year.


2024 NFL combine: Top draft prospects, best workouts, risers


What’s your biggest takeaway from Sunday’s workouts?

Yates: In a league starving for quality offensive linemen, teams might be hitting the jackpot with the 2024 draft. The top-end talent and depth are remarkable. We’ve felt a movement leaguewide toward bigger, faster and stronger players at edge rusher, and it now seems like the offensive line following that lead. Notre Dame’s Joe Alt is the clear best offensive tackle in this class, but teams will have options with the next wave of prospects. If you’re looking for power, right tackles JC Latham (Alabama) and Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State) are there. If you’re looking for size and length, the class has Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma) and Amarius Mims (Georgia). It’s a great group, and we got a good look at it on Sunday.

The Athletic (paywall)

Russini: What I’m hearing at the NFL combine on the Bears, Kirk Cousins and more

If the Chicago Bears planned to keep their moves a mystery, it wasn’t tough to solve their game of quarterback Clue based on all the talk in restaurants, coffee shops and convention center hallways about the team that holds the keys to the top of the NFL Draft.

Multiple league sources I spoke to believe the Bears are trying to move on from Justin Fields, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The team, which has the No. 1 and 9 picks, appears to be focused on using its first pick to select USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

The team spent most of the week gauging interest around the league to evaluate [Fields’] value. The Bears may need movement in the veteran quarterback market, which includes Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield, before interested teams get into serious discussions with the Bears for Fields. Though I expect the demand for Fields to be robust, knowing teams like the Raiders, Broncos, Steelers and Falcons are all in search of a quarterback, it appears his market is soft for now. It was hard to find strong interest from any team. One NFC general manager explained the problem with the current timing: “When people know you are getting rid of something, they don’t pay as much for it.”

[Kirk Cousins] is the most valuable player on the market despite an Achilles injury he suffered in October. The Vikings want to retain him, and the 35-year-old has expressed his love for the organization, but history has shown us that Cousins is the best contract negotiator in sports. The question remains how high Minnesota is willing to go to keep the quarterback that coach Kevin O’Connell clearly wants back running his offense.

I expect the Falcons to compete for the rights to his contract. It makes all the sense in the world.

The Broncos made it very clear the Russell Wilson chapter will be over soon. Around the league, people believe Denver will cut him by next week.

[T]eams were acting like they’d rather pay those second-tier players around $6 million rather than $10 million-plus to Jacobs and Barkley. Despite the free agent market including the most talented group of backs we’ve seen available in years, I don’t sense that changing their declining value around the NFL.

Podcasts & videos

Locked on Commanders: Washington Commanders NFL Scouting Combine w/ Logan Paulsen | Charles Leno, Logan Thomas, Dan Quinn

Hoffman: Tom Pelissero, Andrew Sicilano on how Bears’ choices will impact Commanders’ Draft strategy

NFC East links

Bleeding Green Nation

Report: Eagles release Kevin Byard to clear cap space

As expected.

This news comes as no surprise whatsoever. The Eagles are clearing over $13 million in cap space with this move while creating less than $1.4 million in dead money.

The Eagles acquired Byard from the Tennessee Titans prior to the NFL trade deadline this past season when they shipped out a 2024 fifth-round pick, a 2024 sixth-round pick, and Terrell Edmunds.

The trade obviously didn’t work out quite as well as the Eagles would have hoped. Byard allowed a 103.3 passer rating when targeted. Aside from an end zone interception in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, he didn’t make many memorable plays in Philly.


NFL league links


Longtime NFL reporter Chris Mortensen dies at 72

Mortensen, who was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer in 2016, announced his decision to step away from ESPN ahead of the 2023 season “to focus on my health, family and faith.” His decision was revealed after having covered his 33rd NFL draft.

A graduate of El Camino College and an Army veteran, Mortensen began his journalism career at the South Bay (Calif.) Daily Breeze in 1969, which covered is native home of Torrance, Calif. Mortensen worked at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1983 to 1990, and was honored with the coveted George Polk Award in 1987 for his reporting. He also wrote for The National and had a column in The Sporting News before landing at ESPN.

2024 NFL free agency: Five players who should stay with current team, five who should hit open market

Chase Young – San Francisco 49ers · Edge · Age: 24

Again, I don’t want to take away from anybody’s chance to get the bag, as the kids put it. And nobody would blame Young for cashing in. But after spending the majority of his young career with a franchise undergoing a tumultuous ownership change — a franchise that never won more than eight games in a season during his tenure — Young saw how the other half lives. His brief time with the 49ers must’ve been like going from a cover band to being a member of Metallica. There are some things you can’t put a price on. And I’m assuming he’d still get money to play for the 49ers, so I would try to run it back with them if possible.


Originally posted on Hogs Haven