Commanders tipped for shocking NFC East title tilt after busy offseason

Could the Commanders go from worst-to-first in 20234

Dan Quinn
Dan Quinn / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders have been tipped to make a surprising NFC East title challenge in 2024 after an impressive start to free agency.

Nobody is expecting too much from the Washington Commanders next season. It's going to be a gradual process back into contention as part of Adam Peters' grand plans. Building through the draft and supplementing any remaining needs in free agency takes time. But it's also right to acknowledge the outstanding start made by the new general manager and head coach Dan Quinn this offseason.

The Commanders spent the early part of free agency filling key needs and upgrading others. More recently, those in power have turned their attention to solidifying depth and ensuring their special teams unit will be a force to be reckoned with when competitive action begins. Expectations should be tempered initially, but it's encouraging nonetheless.

Commanders could win the NFC East in 2024

Brent Sobleski from The Bleacher Report was particularly impressed with the way Washington went about its business in free agency. Something that led the writer to suggest they could be in line for a shocking tilt at the NFC East championship in 2024 if the right quarterback is acquired at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. Of course, this is what transpired with the Houston Texans last season after C.J. Stroud took the league by storm.

"The Washington Commanders are this year's candidate to go from worst-to-first and pull a similar version of what the Houston Texans did last season. Much like the Texans, the Commanders are pulling themselves out of a toxic situation that ruined their ability to compete at high level for years. With a new ownership group, general manager and coaching staff, Washington basically entered this offseason with a clean slate. All of this sets up for one thing: Washington selecting a quarterback with this year's second overall draft pick, whether it be LSU's Jayden Daniels or North Carolina's Drake Maye. Players who understand the systems and their roles will only help set up the rookie for success. If that happens, much like it did in Houston last season, Washington could be difficult to handle in a division where the Dallas Cowboys have done next to nothing this offseason, the New York Giants seem to be facing some kind of identity crisis and the Philadelphia Eagles must rediscover who they are."

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report

This would be beyond anyone's wildest dreams, in all honesty. The AFC South is not the NFC East. Washington's division has two teams who legitimately believe they can win the Super Bowl and another who's also made some big splashes this offseason. Even if the Commanders do end up taking their future franchise quarterback, it might not transition to an immediate title push.

The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will be right up there again. After acquiring stud edge rusher Brian Burns from the Carolina Panthers via trade, it would be a surprise if the Giants didn't make improvements despite losing running back Saquon Barkley to a division rival.

According to the latest odds from DraftKings Sportsbook, the Commanders are +750 to win the NFC East next season (bet $100 to win $750). This puts them No. 3 ahead of the Giants, with the Cowboys slightly favored over the Eagles to triumph.

This indicates Vegas is also looking at the Commanders' offseason moves so far with cautious optimism. There is a long way to go and plenty of twists to come, but all signs point to Quinn returning this once-proud franchise to some semblance of respectability.

Of course, it could go wrong. That's not uncommon throughout Washington franchise history. But this does feel different to anything that's come over the last decade or more.

It's positive, but nobody associated with the Commanders is taking anything for granted. As the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.