The trade deadline is an exciting time around the NFL. For Washington Commanders fans, though, the cutoff hasn’t amounted to anything in the Ron Rivera era. Leading up to Tuesday’s 4 p.m. EST deadline, the club has reportedly rebuffed any inquires for Daron Payne and Antonio Gibson, leaving William Jackson as the most likely player to get moved.
Of course, Jackson reportedly requested a trade out of Washington following the Week 5 loss to Tennessee, when he was benched for poor play. After the game, Jackson cited back tightness as why he was pulled, but Rivera made sure to note the injury wasn’t the reason the team made a change in its secondary.
The back injury has prevented Jackson from playing the last three games (all wins). During that span, the Commanders have worked diligently to find a trade partner for Jackson; preferably a team that plays a lot of man coverage relative to Jack Del Rio’s zone system that Jackson’s struggled getting acclimated to.
With the deadline suddenly just hours away, Washington is having trouble finding a buyer for the disgruntled cornerback. So much so, in fact, that ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler just reported the Commanders are expected to release Jackson if they can’t strike a deal before Tuesday’s deadline.
Whether Jackson gets traded or cut, the tumultuous and seemingly inevitable end to his Commanders career underlines a troubling track record under the current regime when it comes to big-money investments.
The Commanders are expected to release William Jackson if they can’t trade him before Tuesday’s deadline.
The Jackson signing is far and away the worst of the Rivera era. During the 2020 offseason, Washington (then the Football Team) inked Jackson to a three-year, $40.5 million contract that included $26 million guaranteed and a $15 million signing bonus. His $13.8 million cap hit for 2022 is the highest on the team behind Carson Wentz, and it’s proven to be an absolute waste of money.
While Jackson’s on-field play has been poor, availability has been a huge issue, as he’s played just 16 of a possible 25 games. In 2022, he’s allowed an 82.3% completion rate on 19 targets, per Pro Football Focus, and opposing quarterbacks have a 149.8 passer rating when targeting him. He’s also been flagged for four penalties (in four games), so he was well on his way to surpassing last season’s eight flags.
Beyond Jackson, Washington’s had a handful of other big-money investments go up in flames recently. While Carson Wentz hasn’t been awful, the team’s performed markedly better with Taylor Heinicke running the offense. Wentz has a $28 million cap hit this year, while Heinicke’s number checks in at $3.62 million.
Further, the Logan Thomas extension looks worse every week. The tight end’s appeared in 11 games since the deal. Would it surprise anyone if Washington moved on in the offseason? The Curtis Samuel signing is finally paying dividends, but 2021 was a lost year of his three-year contract. And who could forget franchise tagging Brandon Scherff twice only to lose him for nothing in March?
We hate to be so negative amid a three-game winning streak, but this Jackson news served as a harsh reminder that this regime has failed time and time again making high-profile investments. That’s a pretty important part of the job.