The Washington Commanders‘ decision on whether to proceed with trading players or pushing for the playoffs is expected to be influenced by Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, sources told ESPN.
A win against the NFC East-leading Eagles would supercharge the Commanders’ season and leave them 4-4, with a chance to fight for a playoff spot.
But a loss against their division rivals would drop the Commanders’ record to 3-5, including 0-3 against NFC East opponents, and leave them as potentially looking to unload players as soon as Monday morning.
If the Commanders do end up trading away players, the focus will be on their defensive line, where Chase Young and Montez Sweat each are in the last year of their contracts, ready to become free agents.
Washington is not expected to be able to retain both pass-rushers, and at least one team already has inquired about Sweat, according to sources. The Commanders are proceeding patiently, waiting to see where their season is going as well as what a team might be willing to offer. So before losing Young or Sweat in free agency, Washington first could decide to trade one to maximize compensation in the 2024 draft instead of getting a compensatory pick in the 2025 NFL draft.
The Commanders also received trade inquiries on Jonathan Allen after the defensive tackle’s postgame eruption after last Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants, but Washington said it is not willing to deal him and wouldn’t even have the conversation with other teams, according to sources.
Even with new owners, and change on the horizon, the Commanders’ front office and staff have been instructed to do what is best for the team in terms of trades, according to league sources.
Other players also are in the last year of their contract and could bring back draft compensation if Washington gets aggressive in the next 24 to 48 hours ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Players on the last year of their contracts include quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back Antonio Gibson, wide receiver Curtis Samuel, linebacker Cody Barton and cornerback Kendall Fuller.
Brissett played in Cleveland last season and would be a logical candidate for the Browns if they decide they need to reinforce the quarterback position with Deshaun Watson nursing a rotator cuff injury.
Gibson and Samuel could be assets other teams eye, and the Commanders would be open for business, especially if they cannot find a way to win Sunday’s game.