A potential Dallas Cowboys implosion following their wildcard embarrassment comes at the perfect time for a resurgent Washington Commanders.
Watching the Dallas Cowboys once again fail to meet expectations en route to an early playoff exit was some solace for Washington Commanders fans following a torrid season. Aside from their team's success, watching division rivals endure hardship is the next best thing. That's about all this long-suffering fanbase has had to cheer in recent years.
The Cowboys are the most valuable and most hyped NFL franchise by a considerable margin. Owner Jerry Jones does a great job of keeping Dallas in the spotlight. The on-field product always seems to thrive in the regular season. When the postseason arrives, it's a different story.
Commanders must capitalize on NFC East uncertainty
They have had few accomplishments over the last three decades when it comes to the playoffs. It's been a constant stream of underachievement. Their latest at home to the Green Bay Packers was arguably the worst.
Unsurprisingly, there's been plenty of ridicule from analysts and rival fans alike. While the likes of Skip Bayless and former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin cut dismayed figures on FOX Sports' Undisputed, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN was reveling in their misfortune. For Dallas' fans, it's yet another case of what might have been.
Head coach Mike McCarthy's job status is hanging by a thread. Quarterback Dak Prescott's potential contract extension is another contentious issue. The Cowboys are also bracing themselves for cap complications with studs such as Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb seeking lucrative deals.
There is a lot of uncertainty in Dallas right now. Flaws became exposed. Problems seemingly brushed under the carpet as the team put together a 12-win regular season came under a glaring spotlight. Make no mistake, this comes at a great time for the Commanders.
While there is a lot of hard work ahead before Washington seriously enters the NFC East title picture. They looked light years behind the Cowboys in their two meetings this season. But all signs point to an immediate resurgence if new football supremo Adam Peters maximizes the substantial assets at his disposal this offseason.
The Commanders have nine draft picks - the No. 2 pick and six in the top 102. They also boast the league's most salary-cap space, which could increase further once cuts and contract restructures come to light. There are significant holes to fill, but Washington can take advantage of a shaky landscape around the division if those in power nail the weeks and months ahead.
Realistically, the Commanders would be way ahead of schedule if they could win the division next season. They'll have an unrecognizable roster. They'll have a new head coach - perhaps Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson based on reports. They'll likely have a rookie quarterback - Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels - under center.
These vast alterations normally take time to jel. However, one only has to look at the Houston Texans to see how quickly things can turn around with the right people.
If Bill Belichick ends up in Dallas, this complicates matters. At the same time, this is a real opportunity for Josh Harris' ownership group to establish themselves as a legitimate force.
It could go wrong. It could also be the start of something truly special.