Analyst gives Sam Cosmi extra leverage before Commanders' contract talks

The offensive guard received a significant confidence boost.
Sam Cosmi
Sam Cosmi / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Not many of the Washington Commanders covered themselves in glory last season. This was especially evident on the offensive line. It became a significant weak link and unsuited to the pass-happy schematic concepts implemented by Eric Bieniemy during his one campaign in the nation's capital.

Sam Cosmi was the exception. Ron Rivera switched the former offensive tackle onto the interior to maximize his obvious skill set. Many wondered if the move would pay off, but the transition went much better than even the brighter optimists anticipated.

Cosmi thrived as all around him crumbled. The former second-round pick became a model of consistency and durability at the best possible time. Rivera got little correct along Washington's protection, but this decision paid off in spades.

Expected changes arrived this offseason once Adam Peters got a full lay of the land. Nick Allegretti and Tyler Biadasz were acquired in free agency. The Commanders also drafted Brandon Coleman at No. 67 overall to become their starting left tackle with additional development. That could be three new starters in front of rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels.

Sam Cosmi could get a bumper deal from Commanders with another strong season

Cosmi is the constant. The Texas product played 1,103 offensive snaps in 2023, giving up one sack and conceding four penalties en route to a sensational 80.6 grade from Pro Football Focus. If the Commanders want to stand any chance of making improvements, they need similar or upgraded production from their best offensive lineman next time around.

There's also the small matter of Cosmi's contract situation to consider. The player is entering the final year of his rookie deal and could earn himself a bumper payday if everything goes well in 2024. If this scenario comes to fruition, Peters must pay up accordingly.

The lineman got some extra leverage from Thomas Valentine of Pro Football Focus. The respected analyst placed Cosmi at No. 3 in his offensive guard rankings heading into the new campaign. Only Chris Lindstrom and Joe Thuney were ahead of him, which is remarkable when one considers his uncertain status this time last year.

"[Sam] Cosmi was quietly one of the best guards in the NFL in 2023. His 80.6 PFF overall grade ranked fifth at the position, and he had seven games with an overall grade of 80.0 or higher. Despite that, Cosmi didn’t garner the attention he deserved in his first full season as a starter. He spent most of his first two NFL seasons at right tackle for the Commanders before making the switch inside to guard in 2023. His 4.3% pressure rate allowed last year was the 19th lowest at the position."

Thomas Valentine, PFF

This is another massive confidence boost for Cosmi. Building on it will be crucial if his representatives want to extract maximum value from his upcoming contract negotiations.

Whether the Commanders want to discuss an extended stay before the campaign is up for debate. It could save them money in the long run - especially if another leap forward arrives next season - but Peters might adopt a wait-and-see approach. If Cosmi fails to meet lofty targets, the price will drop.

It's a precarious situation the Commanders must handle carefully. Cosmi has the talent - there's no getting away from that. If the interior force performs as many envisage next season with a better-looking supporting cast, resetting the guard market cannot be completely dismissed.

That'll cost the Commanders a substantial amount. But looking at Cosmi's upward trajectory, he's worth every cent.