Prominent free-agent's prognosis should put Commanders on high alert

Could this be a legitimate option for the Commanders?
Adam Peters
Adam Peters / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Washington Commanders strengthened their roster significantly this offseason, there are still some concerns that could hold them back. Adam Peters will be all too aware of what more is needed and the general manager has plenty of spare financial resources to find problem-solvers if the right opportunities present themselves.

One potential cause for concern centers on the left tackle position. The Commanders released steady veteran Charles Leno Jr. and spent a third-round pick on Brandon Coleman. He could be a long-term option, but it's a wait-and-see scenario as the rookie lineman gets a crash course in edge protection throughout the preparation period.

With the Commanders investing heavily in quarterback Jayden Daniels at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, they must ensure the protection becomes cohesive and consistent in equal measure. If Peters and the coaching staff believe more experience is required on the blindside, they should turn over every stone in pursuit of stability.

Commanders should monitor David Bakhtiari's progress closely

An interesting development regarding one of the best offensive tackles around shouldn't go unnoticed by the Commanders. David Bakhtiari has undergone some torrid injury luck in recent seasons, but Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network revealed that the former fourth-round selection's prognosis is good and he could be on track to make a long-awaited return during the 2024 campaign.

"Former Packers All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari, who is recovering from knee surgeries, had a positive follow-up exam with expert Dr. Brian Cole, and Cole proclaimed him on schedule for a 2024 season return. Cole is the chairman of Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and chairman of surgery at Oak Park Hospital. When healthy, Bakhtiari is among the NFL’s best left tackles. While knee issues limited him to just one game last season, he’s now tracking to be ready to play in 2024."

Just when Bakhtiari will be ready wasn't disclosed. The veteran is working his way back to health and is seeking alternative employment following his release from the Green Bay Packers. It's a big gamble considering how much football he's missed, but the rewards could be substantial providing there are no further complications on the injury front.

When fit and firing on all cylinders, Bakhtiari is an exceptional edge protector. His accomplishments speak for themselves. However, these instances have been few and far between over the last four seasons. The Colorado product played 25 games in this span and lasted just one contest in 2023 before going to the shelf. So it's not hard to see what complications could emerge if the Commanders went in this direction.

This represents a low-risk, high-reward pickup by Washington. They already have contingency plans in place with Coleman and Cornelius Lucas. Taking a flier on Bakhtiari with an incentivized contract might be a risk worth looking at in greater detail depending on how his rehabilitation progresses in the coming weeks.

The Commanders might be content with what they have for now. Bakhtiari will be examined closely by other potential suitors as he gets closer to returning in the not-too-distant future, so whether he'll consider Washington as a viable destination is up for debate.

Everything would need to be satisfactory from Bakhtiari's medical assessments before the Commanders show interest or potentially make a formal offer. If he gets a relatively clean bill of health and shows no long-term signs of rust, Peters might be onto something in this scenario.

Time will tell…