In many ways, the arrow for the Washington Football Team is pointing up. They are coming off an NFC East division title and many of their best players are still on rookie deals. On a related note, they will enter free agency with over $40 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, the fifth-highest mark in the league.
However, any excitement surrounding their postseason appearance and their future prospects is dampened by the fact that they have no long-term answer at the league’s most important position.
Washington Football Team quarterbacks in 2020
|Quarterback||Snaps Played||PFF Grade|
Dwayne Haskins, the team's 2019 first-round pick, entered the year as the starter but ended it as a free agent looking for a new home and fresh start.
Kyle Allen played in four games in 2020 before his season was cut short due to injury, but it’s reasonable to say that we’ve probably already seen enough with the 52.8 PFF grade over 1,000-plus offensive snaps since 2019. You don’t want him being much more than what he was in both those 2019 and 2020 seasons — a backup option.
Alex Smith will likely enter the 2021 season as the incumbent starter barring any significant moves, and while his comeback is deserving of praise, there is a ceiling on this offense with him at quarterback. Smith finished the regular season ranked 28th out of 36 qualifying quarterbacks in PFF grade; an absurd 67% of his passes targeted receivers short of the first down markers, seven percentage points higher than any qualifying quarterback in the league. Realistically, the upside for Washington with this version of Smith at quarterback is their 2020 result.
The last remaining option would be Taylor Heinicke after he graded higher than any other quarterback during wild-card weekend. While that performance was tremendous, it would be a massive leap of faith to retain Heinicke and make him the starting quarterback next season — he will turn 30 years old in March, and he made just his second career start in six years in that playoff game.