4 quarterbacks the Washington Commanders should avoid in 2023

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Commanders should avoid Sam Darnold

Considering his age and the gradual improvements made as a starter last season, Sam Darnold could be one of the more enticing free-agent options for teams this spring. The quarterback was well insulated behind a strong running game and an impressive offensive line in 2022, which brought more efficiency than we’ve ever seen from the former USC standout before faltering late when the Carolina Panthers had a shot at clinching the NFC South.

Darnold’s limitations are obvious. His arm strength is top notch and the mobility to escape the pocket continues to impress, but the signal-caller’s decision-making and suspect pre-snap recognition remain severe complications entering Year 6 of his professional career.

The Panthers could extend Darnold to a short-term option while Matt Corral or any incoming college recruit gets up to speed with Frank Reich’s system. If not, then the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 could be coveted by numerous teams looking to bolster depth at the position.

Much will depend on what the new offensive coordinator thinks, one suspects. But it would be a surprise if the Washington Commanders identified Darnold as someone that could get them over the hump if Sam Howell fluffs his lines.

There’s just too much bad tape to have any real confidence in Darnold. Even if his chance for further progression cannot be dismissed at 25 years old.