5 Commanders who cannot afford to get complacent in 2024

Brian Robinson Jr. and Jonathan Allen lead the list of five Washington Commanders' players who can't afford to get complacent during the 2024 NFL season.
Brian Robinson Jr.
Brian Robinson Jr. / Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
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Jonathan Allen - Commanders DT

Trade rumors and Jonathan Allen never seem to be too far apart this offseason. A contentious contract, along with the decision to draft Johnny Newton in Round No. 2, could put the established veteran on the block, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler:

"Having three talented tackles is hardly a bad thing, but a few league execs are wondering if Washington will ever consider offers for Allen, who is due $15.4 million this year and $16.5 million next, below market for high-end tackles.

The people I've talked to believe Washington will need to either rework his contract eventually or decide whether it will entertain trade interest, which it has rebuffed in the past"

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler

Newton is dynamic enough to play his way ahead of Allen. Particularly in Dan Quinn's defense, which relies on quick-twitch linemen who can create pressure in waves from multiple angles.

Staying healthy will be the key for Newton, so it's far from ideal the former Illinois star is set for a second surgery for another Jones fracture. Especially since he flashes traits of being a more disruptive pass-rusher than Allen, who has never logged double-digit sacks in a single season.

What Allen does best is occupy double teams and cave in the interior of blocking schemes with brute strength. He's naturally suited to a two-gap system where the former Alabama star puts himself through the grinder so others can make plays.

Perhaps that's how it will work, even with Newton on the field. That's assuming Quinn and defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. make heavy use of three-man defensive fronts.

It's possible, especially since there's a lack of marquee game-wreckers at defensive end. Dorance Armstrong Jr., Dante Fowler Jr., and Clelin Ferrell have talent, but none are dominant off the edge, so the strength of the Washington Commanders' defense will still be in the middle.

Allen should be part of that strength. But if his levels drop, Newton, Phidarian Mathis, and John Ridgeway III won't be lacking for snaps.