3 Commanders who could lose their starting job to rookies in 2024

It could be out with the old, in with the new.
Zach Ertz
Zach Ertz / Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Zach Ertz - Commanders TE

This would be the best-case scenario for the Washington Commanders. It's even something Zach Ertz probably acknowledges might happen. Until then, he'll be striving with everything he has to make his presence felt.

More than a few eyebrows were raised when the Commanders signed Ertz in free agency. His previous connection to offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury should ensure a smooth transition. However, many wondered just how much the three-time Pro Bowler has left at this stage of his productive career.

Ertz made a strong start to early workouts. His route-running was crisp and he became a prominent target for rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels. More importantly, the veteran embraced the mentor role working alongside Ben Sinnott.

The former Kansas State star was a high-priority target for the Commanders on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Sinnott's versatility and high upside left those in power convinced he could fill the No. 1 tight end position long-term. Having an insurance policy and an experienced performer who's been to the top in Ertz is only going to assist his development.

Washington must be thrilled with what they've seen from Ertz so far. At the same time, the former second-round selection knows his role and is aware that he's a stopgap before Sinnott is ready to take the mantle.

That's not to say the rookie cannot contribute from Week 1. It just means Ertz can pick up the slack and give Daniels an extra security blanket during his potential early path to superstardom.

Even when Sinnott surpasses Ertz on the depth chart - which seems likely at some stage during the campaign - that doesn't mean his job is done. He'll still get his fair share of targets within a system that's friendly to tight ends. This might be a short-term arrangement between the player and Washington, but his role is integral until told otherwise.