The Washington Commanders have been searching for their franchise quarterback for years now, but it sounds like this offseason they are handling the process more seriously than they have before. The Commanders started their search with a list of 42 potential quarterbacks, per ESPN's John Keim, and have reached out to every team to inquire about quarterback availability and cost.
Having a list of 42 prospective franchise quarterbacks sounds much too large, but it was expected Washington would explore the top quarterbacks in the market yet again. Washington was reportedly in the mix for Matthew Stafford last offseason, but were bested by the Los Angeles Rams, who went on to win the Super Bowl with Stafford under center.
This offseason, the quarterback carousel has the potential to be entertaining. The top players on Washington's list are likely Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. But, it's far from a given that they will be traded, and in that case, both franchises would expect a king's ransom in return for their respective signal-callers.
Players likely included in the 42-man list are incoming rookies. The Commanders hold the No. 11 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, which puts them in position to take maybe the second or even first quarterback off the board. Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral and Malik Willis are considered the top quarterbacks in this class, and Washington could have its choice. To some, going this route is more attractive than trading for a quarterback like Jimmy Garoppolo or Carson Wentz.
Then, there are the free agents. There are a couple of names out there that are enticing such as Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Mitchell Trubisky, but all three of these players are not guaranteed to hold down the job for years to come. Therein lies the question: Would Washington rather draft a quarterback if it can't trade for a top-tier player like Rodgers or Wilson? Or would the Commanders rather take another flier via trade or free agency? Maybe they will do both.
"I think this team needs a veteran, I really do, but that's not going to preclude us from looking at a rookie," Rivera said on CBS Sports HQ. "It's not going to preclude us from saying that, if we ended up with a veteran and also we draft a rookie, that this rookie is not going to get an opportunity -- you gotta be honest about that. So as you look at that what we decide is not going to preclude us from doing something else. This is all part of the process of putting your football team together."