AFC team linked with daring swoop for Commanders QB Sam Howell

Could Sam Howell be on the move this offseason?

Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

An AFC team has been linked with a daring swoop for Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell at some stage during the offseason.

With the Washington Commanders examining potential quarterback upgrades this offseason, Sam Howell's future is looking increasingly uncertain. There were clear flashes of brilliance during his first season as the team's starter in 2023. Unfortunately, the former fifth-round pick also regressed at the worst possible time.

One could place plenty of blame on the coaching staff for Howell's failings. Eric Bieniemy put too much pressure on the young signal-caller with a lack of offensive balance. After declaring he'd found his long-term answer under center, head coach Ron Rivera reverted to type and almost completely gave up on the player.

The Commanders are embarking on an exciting new era. They have plenty of salary-cap space to find a free-agent quarterback if those in power feel like it can help them hit the ground running. Washington also has the No. 2 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. This puts them in the range of Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels if Caleb Williams goes first as expected.

Commanders QB Sam Howell linked to the NY Jets

That would leave Howell on the outside looking in, to a certain extent. Keeping him around as an understudy would be useful considering his lowly salary cap hit over the next two years. General manager Adam Peters might also look to extract some value in the trade market if the right offer comes along.

Commanders quarterback Sam Howell is facing an uncertain future.
Sam Howell / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Hughes from SNY labeled the New York Jets as a team to watch if the Commanders start taking calls on Howell. The insider believes he'd be an immediate upgrade over current backup Zach Wilson and could learn from Aaron Rodgers before eventually replacing him in the coming years.

"If available, though, I’d prioritize him over anyone else. [Sam] Howell proved this year he can play. There are flaws to his game, but none where the season is lost if he has to play. He’s also cheaper. Howell would have a cap hit under $1 million each of the next two years — that matters to Woody Johnson and the Jets. There are those in the Jets building who believe he can play, too. Maybe two years learning behind Rodgers really unlocks his potential and he ends up being his replacement. He did throw for 3,946 yards and 21 touchdowns on a terrible Commanders team. The key will simply be compensation. The Jets should do this if all it takes is a pick on the third day of the draft. Howell is just as good of an insurance policy as Gardner Minshew or Jacoby Brissett."

Connor Hughes, SNY

This almost makes too much sense if the Jets move off Wilson as anticipated. But the Commanders also need an insurance policy if their chosen rookie signal-caller takes longer than expected to pick things up.

Howell has talent, there's no getting away from that. His arm is live. There is a willingness to keep his eyes downfield in the face of pressure. The player's mobility is vastly underrated. He's extremely tough, as evidenced by the substantial punishment he took behind the Commanders' woeful offensive line in 2023.

Everything is on the table right now, including moving forward with Howell as the starter in 2024. Nobody knows the thought process going on behind the scenes. Peters has declared a need to build through the draft - which could mean a quarterback at No. 2 overall. It could also mean he'd be willing to trade back for a king's ransom.

All the former North Carlina gunslinger can do is wait and see how things unfold. Howell is a cool character who'll take whatever comes next in his stride. But much like most on the Commanders' roster currently, he should be preparing for every eventuality.