The NFL combine is like the barbershop. If you want to hear gossip from around the league, some of it true, some of it posturing, then the combine is the place to be for you.
With the 2023 NFL combine recently completed, several rumors and stories surrounding the Washington Commanders made the rounds. Some were wild, such as Matthew Berry of NBC Sports Edge, in his column mentioning how owner Daniel Snyder could sign Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to an offer sheet and a fully guaranteed six-year deal. The idea is Baltimore wouldn’t match the deal, and Snyder, who intends to sell the team, leaves the bill for the next owner and angers the rest of the league who wants him out.
As crazy as it sounds, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has mentioned this scenario for a few weeks.
However, Snyder wasn’t the only topic of conversation surrounding the Commanders. People were also talking about quarterback Sam Howell, according to Rich Eisen.
On his podcast this week, Eisen said he heard in Indianapolis that the Commanders “dig Sam Howell.” Eisen mentioned how he understands how head coach Ron Rivera is making the rounds, pumping up Howell, but this was different. He’d heard from multiple sources that Washington really believes in the rising second-year passer from North Carolina.
Eisen spoke of how he believed Howell dropped much lower in the draft than his talent level, much of which was due to his final year at North Carolina. UNC head coach Mack Brown was a former guest on Eisen’s show and said the Tar Heels did Howell no favors due to everything he lost around him.
“I think the Commanders like him a lot,” Eisen said of Howell. “And I think he’s going to be [the] Week 1 starter. And I think they’re ready to see what they have in him.”
There is a lot of talk that the Commanders are only starting Howell because the ownership situation prevented them from pursuing a more accomplished veteran. Maybe that is true. Perhaps it also saves them from making another expensive mistake on a veteran.
We have repeatedly mentioned how the Commanders needed to find a quarterback on a rookie deal and build around him. It may work with Howell. It may not. But go ahead and bring in another veteran that keeps you in the 7-8 win range, which means you are going nowhere.
If things don’t work with Howell in 2023, you’ll have a chance to pick high in the 2024 NFL draft.
Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire