Washington Football Team Trade Deadline Previewby Mike Fanelli October 8, 2021 0 comments
Entering the 2021 NFL season, the Washington Football Team had playoff expectations after winning the NFC East division last year. However, a quarter of the way through the season, Washington sits with a 2-2 record with wins over the 1-3 New York Giants and 1-3 Atlanta Falcons. Both victories came in a shootout fashion and on the final plays of the games. The biggest reason why Washington has struggled this season is the defense. After finishing as a top unit last season, Washington’s defense is near the bottom of the NFL in several defensive categories, including third to last in points allowed. With the trade deadline only a few weeks away, Washington has to fix the problems on defense or start looking forward to the offseason.
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Washington’s Current Status
Current Record: 2-2
Division Standings: Second in the NFC East
In the Playoff Picture: Yes
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers
Current NFL Draft Slot: 20th Overall
Potential Trade #1: 2022 fourth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for Jason McCourty and a 2022 sixth-round pick
Coming off an impressive rookie season, Kamren Curl had high expectations this season. However, he has regressed in his sophomore season in part because of Landon Collins‘ return as both safeties’ best position is at strong safety. Unable to find a way to play both consistently at the same time, veteran Bobby McCain has played 237 out of 305 defensive snaps (77.7 percent) this season. The safety play has resulted in several mistakes made in coverage this season. These mistakes led to two of Cordarrelle Patterson’s three touchdowns last week. Adding McCourty would provide experience at free safety for Washington but leadership ability to a safety unit that is currently struggling.
The Dolphins currently sit at 1-3, with their lone win coming in Week 1 over the New England Patriots. They have dealt with several injuries this season, including to starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He has missed two games since being placed on injured reserve with a rib injury in Week 2. Tua can come off the injured reserve list after this week if he is healthy. However, the Dolphins face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend and are double-digit underdogs. After that, the Dolphins face the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, and Falcons in three of their next four games. If they fail to win all three, the Dolphins could sell off veterans to open playing time for younger players and add draft capital.
Potential Trade #2: 2022 sixth-round pick to the Houston Texans for Christian Kirksey
Washington recently placed starting linebacker Jon Bostic on injured reserve with a pectoral muscle injury that will likely end his season. Replacing him in the starting lineup will be 2020 fifth-round pick Khaleke Hudson or the veteran David Mayo. The duo has combined for only 47 tackles over the past two seasons. Whoever starts in replace of Bostic will line up next to first-round rookie Jamin Davis. Washington would be wise to add a veteran between now and the trade deadline. Someone with not only experience but an expiring contract after this season.
After their upset Week 1 victory over the Jaguars, the Texans have lost three straight games by an average of 21.7 points per game. Furthermore, the Texans have scored a total of nine points in Davis Mills’ two career starts. Things aren’t looking up for the Texans as they face the New England Patriots this weekend. They then have matchups with the Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams. Their next game where they would have a realistic chance at winning is in Week 12 against the New York Jets. Regardless, the Texans are heavy favorites to land the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Therefore, the Texans have no reason to keep Kirksey instead of trading him for draft capital, no matter how small the compensation.
Potential Trade #3: 2022 fourth-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Charles Harris and a 2022 fifth-round pick
Last season, Washington finished sixth in the NFL with 47 sacks. Leading the way was Montez Sweat with nine, while Chase Young finished second with 7.5 sacks. However, the duo has only three sacks this season, all coming from Sweat. Furthermore, the team has only seven sacks this season, with cornerback Kendall Fuller ranking third with one sack. Part of the problem is the lack of a third passing rushing option at the defensive end position. Last season, Ryan Kerrigan finished third on the team with 5.5 sacks despite playing only 24.8 snaps per game. Furthermore, Washington is an injury to Young or Sweat away from starting James Smith-Williams or Shaka Toney at defensive end. The two seventh-round picks have a combined 0.5 sacks in their NFL careers.
Meanwhile, Harris’ NFL career has been far from a success. As a former first-round pick in 2017, Harris has played for three teams in the past three seasons. However, he had a career-high three sacks in 2020 for the Falcons. Meanwhile, Harris leads the Lions in sacks this season with three, counting for a third of the team’s total. Like the Texans, the Lions are heavy favorites for a top-three selection in the 2022 NFL Draft as they haven’t won a game this season. Furthermore, they might not be favored in any game the rest of the year. The Lions have no reason to keep Harris around. Instead, they should trade him for a draft pick and create more playing time for younger pass rushers like Austin Bryant and Julian Okwara.
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