Could a series of offensive coaching changes made by the Chicago Bears impact the Washington Commanders' plans for a franchise quarterback?
The Washington Commanders hold the No. 2 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. While that is a strong selling point for Josh Harris' ownership group in their quest to land their preferred targets, they don't hold all the cards.
That distinction belongs to the Chicago Bears for the second straight year. Not because they were the worst team in football, but because of their bombshell trade down from No. 1 last year with the Carolina Panthers.
Giving up the top pick in the draft was not something Carolina contemplated. It cost general manager Scott Fitterer his job. If Bryce Young doesn't become one of the league's best signal-callers, it'll be one of the worst trades in NFL history.
Commanders should watch the Bears closely this offseason
The Bears have a tough decision to make from the top this year. Justin Fields developed encouragingly this season with a legitimate No. 1 receiver in D.J. Moore, who was deemed a necessary sacrifice by the Panthers. However, he's only got one year remaining on his rookie deal unless the organization picks up his fifth-year option.
Chicago is unlikely to be selected from atop the draft again in 2025. If they want to draft a quarterback with franchise-altering capabilities and get some decent capital in return for Fields, it has to be now.
The Commanders will be watching closely. Their new regime is likely going to examine the top quarterback prospects - Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, in particular - but their fate is entirely dependent on what Chicago plans to do from No. 1.
Some moves made by the Bears on Wednesday might have grave implications for the Commanders. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, and wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert have been relieved of their duties. Head coach Matt Eberflus remains, but the increased pressure heading into the new campaign puts him in one of the league's hottest seats.
New offensive staff could want to bring in another option. This would be a little harsh on Fields, but the NFL is a business. If those in power like what they see from Williams or Maye, they won't hesitate to pull the trigger. It will also give them additional draft assets by moving their current starter in this scenario.
Offensive coaches don't normally have that big of a say regarding personnel decisions. However, the unit's performance this season hasn't been well-received by the higher-ups. At the same time, they could have determined a change in coaching philosophy is what Fields needs to take his game to new heights.
The Commanders will remain vigilant and prepare for every eventuality. Harris and his brain trust's main priority right now is finding the front office pieces. Then comes the head coach. Then, it'll be straight into assessment events heading into the draft and deciding what to do with the current playing personnel.
Washington has a significant amount of work ahead in that regard. Almost every position group needs an overhaul. The Commanders need to get their long-term quarterback in place after Sam Howell's rollercoaster 2023. The offensive line needs to be prioritized as a matter of extreme urgency.
Keeping an eye on the Bears' plans would also be prudent. This is the time of year for speculation. Firing the entire offensive staff comes with plenty of questions attached. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
But make no mistake, the Commanders must be ready for anything this offseason.