4 Commanders entering make-or-break situations in 2023

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Bieniemy
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Bieniemy /
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(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Howell /

Sam Howell – Commanders QB

While it appears as if Sam Howell will get the chance to stake a leading claim for the starting quarterback job, it’s far from guaranteed. A lot of hard work awaits the former fifth-round pick, who has just one NFL start under his belt after being brought along gradually by the Washington Commanders throughout his rookie campaign.

With Taylor Heincke set to enter free agency and Carson Wentz released to save $26.17 million against the salary cap, Howell has a free run to the No. spot right now. However, there’s no doubt competition is going to arrive via a veteran free agent or a promising college recruit during the 2023 NFL Draft.

This puts the onus squarely on Howell’s shoulders. Hopes are high that he can make the necessary improvements, but there’s just no telling for sure until the signal-caller firmly establishes himself.

Ron Rivera laid the gauntlet down to Howell during his media availability at the NFL Scouting Combine. This is a challenge Howell is sure to relish, but everything has to go right from the moment OTAs begin.

If the Commanders aren’t convinced, they’ll go in a different direction. Something that could lead Howell into backup duties for the foreseeable future.