Commanders 53-man 2024 roster projection: Summer break edition

Early offseason workouts provided some roster clues.
Terry McLaurin
Terry McLaurin / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders interior defensive line

  • Locks: Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Johnny Newton, Phidarian Mathis
  • Bubble: John Ridgeway III

This is the simplest position group on the Washington Commanders' defense. Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne are the starters. Johnny Newton, if healthy, will see a lot of snaps. Phidarian Mathis will get at least one more season to live up to his second-round draft status.

If the young guys play up to their potential, this could be one of the best interior lines in the entire NFL. But fans have heard that refrain before.

The huge complicating factor is Newton’s health. He required surgery on his left foot a month ago. It is the same surgery he needed on his right foot in 2023. He appeared fully recovered from the original surgery, and Dan Quinn has said he is progressing well in his current recovery.

The hope is that Newton will be healed at some point during training camp and can be ready to go come opening day. If that doesn’t work out and he has to begin the year on the injured reserve list, it opens the door for John Ridgeway III to stick around.

Ridgeway has been an uneven performer since he was snatched from the Dallas Cowboys, but he is a big body who can give some rest to the starters. The Commanders have several other young developmental players who will be practice squad candidates.

Final roster (4): Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Johnny Newton, Phidarian Mathis

Commanders edge rushers

Locks: Dorance Armstrong, Clelin Ferrell, Dante Fowler Jr., K.J. Henry
Bubble: Efe Obada, Andre Jones Jr., Javontae Jean-Baptiste

Dorance Armstrong is the only sure starter, but it’s impossible to envision free-agent signees Clelin Ferrell and Dante Fowler Jr. not being on the final roster. Both are moderately productive veterans on team-friendly deals. K.J. Henry is the best pure pass rusher the Washington Commanders have at the defensive end spot in 2024.

They will probably keep six edge players. This leaves Efe Obada, Andre Jones Jr., and Javontae Jean-Baptiste battling it out for two remaining spots.

Obada has experience and versatility. He was also re-signed by Adam Peters early in free agency. Jean-Baptiste is a raw talent who was drafted by the current regime. That could leave Jones out.

There is one other potential complication that came up during Washington's minicamp. If Jamin Davis begins taking more snaps as an edge rusher - something that a lot of fans have been clamoring for - it could rejigger the math. It may take a spot away from a player like Obada and open up a spot at linebacker or safety.

Final roster (6): Dorance Armstrong, Clelin Ferrell, Dante Fowler Jr., K.J. Henry, Efe Obada, Javontae Jean-Baptiste