3 critical observations from Commanders trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young

Chase Young and Montez Sweat
Chase Young and Montez Sweat / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders future

This is what it’s all about right? This trade was done for the future, and I think there are several conclusions we can draw.

First and foremost, this trade was orchestrated by Josh Harris and the new ownership group. There is a very good chance that they assessed where the team is, and where the league is, and came to the conclusion that the Washington Commanders were heavily over-invested in the defense.

While defensive production certainly continues to matter in today’s NFL, if you don’t have a dynamic offense, you are going nowhere.

I think this signals a change in direction which was fairly inevitable regardless of these trades. The Commanders will assess quarterback Sam Howell for the remainder of 2023 and decide whether he is their man going forward. If so, they will surround him with as much dynamic talent as possible.

That means a rebuilt offensive line, along with better playmakers at tight end and running back. I love Brian Robinson Jr.’s toughness, but Washington is going to be looking for the next Jahmyr Gibbs.

If Howell is deemed below standard, then Washington will move heaven and earth to land a top-flight quarterback prospect next season. That is never a sure thing. Not even Caleb Williams is a sure thing. But if the Commanders find themselves with a chance to grab him, they will do it.

Because, going forward, the biggest takeaway from the huge day in Commanders' history is this...

The new ownership team is fully prepared to blow things up. They will make deals. They will walk away from things that in the past seemed sacrosanct.

I’m not sure this is such a big change from what was always likely to happen. I have assumed for a while that the current coaching staff, and the current management team, would all be gone after this season.

All these trades do is confirm that - and perhaps speed up the entire process.

For instance, the one player I thought was untouchable on this team was Terry McLaurin. I still think it’s highly unlikely he’ll be moved, but now I could at least imagine it.

I previously thought there was no advantage to be gained from firing any of the coaches mid-season, but now I think that is very much on the table as well. And I think this also confirms my belief that the next head coach will come with a background in offense.

If you’re looking for an upside going forward, here are a couple. First, I’m no longer worried about re-signing Kamren Curl. I’m not saying the Commanders will do it, but now they will certainly be able to if they so choose.

With the draft capital and projected salary cap space, the Commanders' head coach and general manager jobs become extremely attractive. If Howell develops, then Josh Harris should have his pick of excellent candidates for both vital positions.

In the interest of balanced journalism, I feel like I have to point out that what Harris is doing looks very much like the early days of his ownership of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. He stripped a struggling roster and stockpiled draft picks.

The payoff was supposed to come a few years down the road. It is now looking like that payoff will never be what it was supposed to become. This only goes to show that this strategy doesn’t guarantee anything.

But it does constitute a fresh start. And this is a franchise that desperately needs one.

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