Grading the Commanders first three signings in 2023 free agency

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Andrew Wylie
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Andrew Wylie /
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(Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports) Nick Gates /

Commanders signed Nick Gates (OL)

  • Three-year, $18 million deal ($8 million guaranteed)

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the Washington Commanders were going to identify their offensive line as a position group in need of major upgrades. Something that was addressed by those in power within the first two hours of the legal tampering period with the signing of Nick Gates from the New York Giants.

This is a full-circle situation for Gates, who broke his tibia and fibula against the Commanders in 2021, which resulted in seven surgeries before the lineman finally came back during the previous campaign.

While health is a major worry given the severity of Gates’ previous complication, the former Nebraska star is versatile and aggressive. This is exactly what Ron Rivera normally looks for in his offensive linemen.

Much will depend on where the Commanders plan to use Gates. One suspects it will be on the interior – possibly as a guard – but they could also slot him into the center position depending on what transpires with Chase Roullier.

Grade: C+

At three years and $8 million guaranteed, it’s a low-risk option for Washington. If Gates puts a consistent run of games together, then it could be a nice bit of business – although there’s absolutely no guarantee that will happen based on recent history.