With the Washington Commanders once again displaying the same old inconsistencies, should those in power contemplate a fire sale before the 2023 trade deadline?
It's amazing what a difference one week in the NFL makes. Optimism was high after the Washington Commanders pulled off a decent victory at the Atlanta Falcons, only for Ron Rivera's men to come crashing back down to earth thanks to an embarrassing loss versus the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
This is the way things have unfortunately gone more often than not under Rivera. Just when it looks like the Commanders might be capable of building some momentum, they quickly remind their fans how far away this team actually is from becoming legitimate contenders.
Speculation about Rivera's future beyond the current campaign is gathering pace with every crushing defeat. The Commanders' recent struggles - losing four of their last five following a 2-0 start - have also seen rumors of trading off assets before the October 31 deadline grow larger in recent days.
Commanders urged to sell before the 2023 trade deadline
Fans are divided on the topic and who should be made available if such a scenario comes to fruition. However, Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today Sports thinks Washington should start planning for the future, which begins by potentially moving either Chase Young or Montez Sweat.
"For three-plus years under Ron Rivera, Washington has thrashed its way into the middle of the pack. Parting with any important pieces now might seem strange, especially with Rivera having acknowledged this offseason that he could be on the hot seat with new ownership coming in. But having face-planted against the lowly Chicago Bears and New York Giants in recent weeks, the Commanders should capitalize on a prime opportunity to better position themselves for the long term.- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today
In a league consistently starved for high-impact edge rushers, the Commanders have two who could be trade deadline considerations: Montez Sweat and Chase Young. Trading one could afford the Commanders enhanced flexibility to address their pressing problems along the offensive line, as well as the uncertainty at quarterback amid Sam Howell's rocky debut season as a starter."
The Commanders are clearly in a predicament with their two stud edge rushers, so the chances of one being sacrificed are high if a big offer comes along. Anything more than that in terms of outgoings represents Rivera throwing in the towel on Washington's chances this season - something that would also cost him his job all things considered.
Maybe holding a complete fire sale is unrealistic. But no fan should be surprised if Young or Sweat end up taking their chances elsewhere.
That's the corner Washington backed itself into when they declined Young's fifth-year option. They had every right to go down this route after his injury struggles, but those in power should have been aware of what came next if the former No. 2 overall selection returned to something like his old self.
One cannot dismiss the possibility of Josh Harris' ownership group getting involved with these decisions, either. They've sat back and assessed the football operation up to now, but this involves the Commanders' long-term future, so voicing their opinion cannot be entirely dismissed.
An interesting few days await. Waiting until after the Eagles game to see how things unfold is the best course of action, but there's just no telling for sure what's going on behind closed doors.