Way-too-early look at Commanders free-agent decisions in 2025 and 2026

It needs to be part of Adam Peters' long-term planning...
Jamin Davis
Jamin Davis / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders 2026 free agents

Looking further down the road, the Washington Commanders will most likely have more difficult decisions to make regarding their crop of 2026 free agents. This number will change, but as of today, they are slated to have 16 players enter free agency. All but wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley would be unrestricted.

The complicating factor for the 2026 group is that two of them are high-priority veterans. Terry McLaurin and Jonathan Allen - the team’s two best players over the past five years - are both scheduled to become free agents. Adam Peters does not have to do anything regarding either player this year, but he needs to begin figuring out whether they will have futures beyond the terms of their current deals.

At this point, I would think the team would want to work something out with McLaurin. He is the heart and soul of the team. He will turn 31 years old at the beginning of the 2026 campaign, but Mike Evans and Keenan Allen have proven that wide receivers can continue playing at a high level after 30.

McLaurin’s play over the upcoming season will be monitored to see if he shows any signs of slowing down. If not, Washington may look to reward him with a short-term, high-value extension past 2026.

Allen is a different matter. He is a little older than McLaurin and he has been the subject of trade rumors ever since he expressed frustration with the team late last season. Therefore, it does not seem worthwhile to put him into any long-range plans.

The Commanders will have several young players hitting free agency in 2026. The 2022 draft class, which includes Brian Robinson Jr., Percy Butler, and Sam Howell, could be looking for new deals. Decisions on those players can be put off for another year to see how they progress. At this point, none seem like essential pieces.

Howell will probably be replaced this year. Robinson plays a position that often turns over. None of the other young players have distinguished themselves yet, though they still have time to improve.

Jahan Dotson's fifth-year option is also on the agenda in 2026. That’s impossible to handicap now.

Roster construction is a complicated juggling act. Washington needs help at virtually every position. They will be bringing in a lot of reinforcements this off-season. Knowing what decisions need to be made a year or two down the road helps.