Commanders free agency exodus continues after JD McKissic signs with Bills
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders losing Brandon Scherff to free agency this offseason was inevitable.
Having played under the franchise tag for two-straight seasons, the front office was never going to pony up the necessary money to re-sign the five-time Pro Bowler, and the Jaguars unsurprisingly made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL.
You could make the same argument for Tim Settle, who, while widely regarded as a potential future stud nose tackle, was never likely to re-sign to continue playing behind Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis.
But JD McKissic? The most valuable player on Washington’s offense who was outspoken about wanting to re-sign with the franchise? You want to let Scherff and Settle leave, that’s fine, but you better prioritize keeping McKissic.
At least, that’s how we thought the front office viewed the situation.
When push came to shove, though, the Commanders lost out to a legitimate championship contender in the Buffalo Bills, who signed McKissic to a reported two-year, $7 million deal that has a maximum value of $8 million.
Former Commanders running back JD McKissic has signed a two-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.
What a catastrophic loss for the Commanders, who, despite their limited cap space, absolutely could’ve afford $7 million over two years to retain McKissic. That begs the question of whether money was the deciding factor here.
Did the Commanders cheap out or did McKissic merely prefer to play for a title contender than remain loyal to Washington? Whatever the case, Ron Rivera and Scott Turner have massive shoes to fill in McKissic’s wake.
Over the last two seasons, only Saints superstar Alvin Kamar has more receptions than McKissic at the running back position. During that span, McKissic posted 123 catches for 986 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He owned a 76.9% catch rate over 163 targets and accounted for 86 total first downs.
Like we said, McKissic was the team’s most important offensive player not named Terry McLaurin. The offense sputtered when he went down with a neck injury in Week 12 last season and him no longer being in the fold now puts pressure on Antonio Gibson to shoulder a bigger burden as a pass-cacher.
With a volatile QB in Carson Wentz presiding over the offense, it would behoove Washington to look into adding a pass-catching back in the near future, whether it be through free agency or the middle rounds of the 2022 draft.
Could you have envisioned a worse start to free agency for Washington?