Commanders can take advantage of cap constraints by signing offensive lineman

The Commanders need to solidify their protection this offseason.

Jonah Williams
Jonah Williams / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Washington Commanders could take advantage of salary-cap constraints elsewhere by signing this offensive lineman in free agency.

It's no secret that the Washington Commanders need to prioritize their offensive line additions throughout the first offseason under general manager Adam Peters. Sam Howell wasn't the league's most sacked quarterback by accident. The protection in front of the signal-caller was nothing short of woeful. Aside from Sam Cosmi, there were no positives to take.

This unit needs proper investment and long-term planning. Fortunately for the Commanders, they are armed with the NFL's most available salary-cap space and boast six draft selections in the first 103 picks. There is a lot for Peters to fix, but his strong track record leaves plenty of reasons for optimism.

One potential solution to their edge issues is Jonah Williams. The versatile offensive tackle is only just entering his prime. He could be a necessary sacrifice for the Cincinnati Bengals after they decided to place the franchise tag on wide receiver Tee Higgins.

Commanders urged to splash the cash on Jonah Williams

Bryan Manning from USA Today Sports urged the Commanders to explore the possibility of signing Williams if he hits the open market. Interest in the former first-round pick would be high, but the writer believes this would be an immediate upgrade on Andrew Wylie, who underwhelmed after signing in 2023 free agency.

"The Commanders could have as many as four new [offensive line] starters in 2024. Only RG Sam Cosmi is assured of his spot. Washington should look to free agency to address one or two of those positions, and it begins at right tackle. [Jonah] Williams is 26, and while the Bengals would love to retain him, they have other players to pay. He should hit free agency and have a strong market. Williams began his career at left tackle but moved to right tackle in 2023 to accommodate Orlando Brown. Some teams could view Williams as a left tackle, which would also alter his asking price. For Washington, it should pursue Williams to play right tackle and use the draft to find the left tackle of the future to protect the rookie quarterback."

Bryan Manning, USA Today Sports

Williams was solid if not spectacular for the Bengals last season. Switching offensive line positions is never easy. Seeing quarterback Joe Burrow miss most of the campaign through injury didn't help continuity either. That said, there were some encouraging aspects to his production in difficult circumstances.

What the Commanders need to figure out is whether Williams is worthy of such a lofty financial commitment. Spotrac projects his market value to be $10.85 million per season on a four-year, $43.43 million deal. This figure is something Washington could easily do with the vast assets at the team's disposal.

The Commanders cannot afford for another veteran acquisition to fail miserably. Unless those in power are 100 percent convinced, they should go in a different direction. Getting involved in a bidding war for the player given the expected interest would be another foolish way to approach things.

It'll be interesting to see how Peters goes about solving this complex riddle. There needs to be a balance between immediate veteran contributors and high-level draft prospects. The Commanders won't get a better opportunity to fix this problem once and for all given the resources available. Making the most of them will be crucial.

Williams could be better than most. He might also be the latest in a long line of big-money free agents who don't reach their billing.

It's a fine line…

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