The yearning of each NFL franchise is a sturdy quarterback on a novice contract. It’s GM porn, and even a slight sign of talent turns teams into ‘90s studio execs. The recent fascination is Sam Howell. The Washington Commander quarterback is stacking up numbers that make front offices and media members want to propose.
So why haven’t they? What’s preventing Washington from going for broke the next two years? Howell will be playing for pennies through 2025, he’s second in the league in passing yards, and seventh in touchdown passes. SIGN HIM UP, RON!
This is the closest Washington has been to a long-term starter under center since Kirk Cousins. I’m truly surprised they were sellers at the deadline. The playoffs and prolonged mediocrity are palpable; just do it, Martin Mayhew. What are you waiting for?
Maybe it’s the team’s record against opponents above .500, the loss to the 2-7 Giants, the 20-point drubbing at the hands of the 3-7 Bears, or that minus-54 point differential. Howell has nine interceptions, is getting sacked at a record pace, and leads the league in attempts and completions.
That last stat is important, because numbers are deceiving without context. There are a lot of perennial backup QBs who could amass numbers given enough opportunities. Look, I love Gardner Minshew as much as the next red-blooded American, but Howell is a glitzy marketing campaign and a Speedo away from being that guy.
If you have to talk yourself into a quarterback, Daniel Jones-style, you don’t have a quarterback no matter how cheap the contract. There’s a time to act like a tabby in a field of catnip; a recent example is Houston and C.J. Stroud. They should be scrambling to surround him with infrastructure while NFL talking head voice his cap hit is infinitesimal.
The Commanders’ approach is slightly cynical, as evidenced by the Chase Young and Montez Sweat departures, but that’s better than making f*ck-me eyes at Howell because you’re deprived. Ron Rivera is a modern-day Jeff Fisher, so this 4-5 start shouldn’t be a shock, nor prompt an overreaction.
New owner Josh Harris isn’t a new owner in the same way that Matt Ishbia is a new owner, and that’s a good thing. One of the few Bill Simmons-isms that I still prescribe to is new owner syndrome, which often leads to unwarranted gambles, or short-sighted trades. This isn’t Harris’ first venture into professional sports, and so far there haven’t been any win-now moves, because Washington isn’t winning anything right now.
Let’s see the kid beat a team with a winning record before exalting him to franchise-cornerstone status. Yes, Chocolate City has a lot to be excited about, including maybe Sam Howell, but my god show some patience, and put away the ED pills.