4 biggest surprises of Commanders free agency so far in 2023

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Terry McLaurin and Eric Bieniemy
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Terry McLaurin and Eric Bieniemy /
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Bieniemy /

Commanders didn’t get a playmaker familiar with Eric Bieniemy

The marquee offseason addition for the Washington Commanders was Eric Bieniemy. His high-profile switch from the Kansas City Chiefs was done as potentially overcoming the final hurdle en route to a future NFL head coaching role, which will undoubtedly arrive if the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator thrives with full scheme control for the first time.

Bieniemy is getting a big say on how things are unfolding on offense. He’s made plenty of alterations to coaches working under him and is a valued voice in recruitment, so it’s been surprising to see the Commanders overlook some primary playmakers he’s already familiar with in free agency.

Andrew Wylie did join the ranks and should become the team’s starting right tackle in 2023. However, the likes of Mecole Hardman and Jerick McKinnon were overlooked, although the latter is still on the market if Washington has a change of heart.

This could be a sign of the confidence level Bieniemy has in the team’s current skill position players. Something the coach freely admitted was a primary reason the job was so appealing in the first place.

Not adding another option to smooth Bieniemy’s transition was somewhat surprising. But if quarterback Sam Howell reaches some lofty expectations, it will be a far bigger factor than anyone the Commanders could get from this year’s free-agent class.

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