4 former Commanders players who’ll thrive on new teams in 2023

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Cole Holcomb
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Cole Holcomb /
2 of 4
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) Cole Holcomb /

Cole Holcomb – Former Commanders LB

When the Washington Commanders picked up Cody Barton in free agency, it seemed almost inevitable that Cole Holcomb would take his chances elsewhere. Ron Rivera didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing back the linebacker, but money is tight and the offer was obviously something that didn’t interest the player’s representatives.

Holcomb might have turned the Commanders down no matter what after getting a significant opportunity with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Something that could take his game to greater heights under the exceptional mind of Mike Tomlin.

The former fifth-round pick signed a three-year, $18 million deal with a $4.92 million signing bonus and a further $4.92 million guaranteed. More importantly, Holcomb gets a legitimate chance to start unless another gifted interior second-level presence arrives via the 2023 NFL Draft.

Playing alongside a game-wrecker like T.J. Watt could be exactly what Holcomb needs. There was a lot to like about his production in 2022 before injuries derailed his progress, but Tomlin’s defensive knowledge could be the spark that ignites the North Carolina product if there aren’t further complications on the health front.

This was a pretty big risk by the Commanders. If Barton fails to meet objectives and Holcomb thrives, questions will be asked.