How much longer will the Commanders leave Sam Howell in limbo?

Things are more uncertain than ever...
Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

How much longer will Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell be in limbo after the team acquired veteran Marcus Mariota?

Speculation has been rampant about the Washington Commanders' plans for the quarterback position. This took another twist once the legal tampering period began after Marcus Mariota agreed to terms on a one-year deal that could be worth up to $10 million with incentives.

This is solid backup money. Who'll he be backing up is the big question.

The Commanders have the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to select either Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye. There's also the small matter of Sam Howell's future to consider. Last season's starter looks to be in limbo right now with options dwindling around the league. If general manager Adam Peters wants to extract value in the trade market, he needs to act quickly.

Commanders have a big decision to make with Sam Howell

It's not an easy situation for Howell, even if he was probably expecting something like this to unfold after an indifferent campaign with mitigating circumstances attached. He's already had a lengthy discussion with Peters, but Ben Standig of The Athletic believes there is still a market for the North Carolina college product if the Commanders start taking calls.

However, the beat writer also revealed that Peters could decide to keep Howell and move forward with three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster.

"A logical assumption about the QB room setup paired a veteran (Mariota) with a rookie. That path would mean considering whether keeping the developing Howell outweighs potential draft compensation. There’s a market for Howell, an undersized quarterback who displayed a big arm and an abundance of toughness as a first-year starter. Washington allowed 65 sacks, a combination of poor offensive line performance, questionable play calling and Howell’s penchant for holding the ball for too long. League sources previously told The Athletic that acquiring a fourth-round pick is possible. That was before free agency began and before seeing a shrinking market for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. Howell’s inexpensive rookie contract extends through 2025 with cap hits of $1.075 and $1.19 million. Washington can easily absorb those figures and keep all three."

Ben Standig, The Athletic

It's a fascinating dynamic. Howell's fifth-round rookie contract - which is incredibly cheap for the next two seasons - makes him a viable option for anyone looking to bolster their quarterback room. It also means if the Commanders decide to keep him around, the cost is minimal.

Taking three signal-callers on an NFL roster isn't the normal trend. Starting Howell with Mariota as the backup and the No. 2 pick red-shirting would be another path not normally seen in the modern-day game. People expect immediate returns from their high-end selections for good or bad, so it's something Peters has to navigate carefully.

Quarterback spots are being taken around the league, so time is of the essence. Howell will wait patiently to see what comes next. If that means a different place to call home, so be it. If that means working his way from the bottom up in Washington, he'll tackle the challenge with his customary determination.

Nobody knows for sure. Everyone has an opinion, but aside from Peters and a few other trusted figures within the organization, everyone is in the dark until something becomes concrete.

If Howell is traded, the plan becomes clear.


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