There’s a growing sense in Maryland that the Washington Redskins will continue to promote Dwayne Haskins as the No. 1 quarterback rather than make a move for Cam Newton, a decision that could yield dividends for years to come.
The Carolina Panthers confirmed on Tuesday that “Superman” had been released after nine seasons with the franchise, and Washington has been touted as a potential destination after Haskins’ disappointing rookie campaign.
Ron Rivera has thus far stood by his incumbent despite rumours the Redskins could launch a move to sign Newton. The head coach appeared on WFNZ Radio (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com) and suggested he was settled with his current options while leaving a shred of ambiguity:
“No. At the end of the day, we have a young football team with a young quarterback in position. We have the chance to set and establish a thing, so that's the way we're looking at it. Going forward, you never know what's going to happen, but where we are right now, and we made a commitment to a young guy to find out who we have as a football team.”
Finding out who that 22-year-old former Ohio State standout is could be worth immense value to the franchise, not to mention it doesn’t lay waste to their previous decision to pick the player at 15th overall in last year’s NFL Draft. Newton is due to earn upwards of $18 million in the 2020 season, salary cap space that could otherwise be put to great use at FedEx Field.
Fox analyst Bucky Brooks recently rebuked the condemnation surrounding Haskins after a single season in the NFL, pointing to the youngster’s last three games in 2019 as a better representation of his potential. The rookie threw only two touchdowns for six interceptions across his first six appearances of the campaign, but his record of five touchdowns and just one interception in those last three outings makes for more hopeful reading.
Redskins running-back Derrius Guice also recently flew to the defence of his team-mate amid the suggestions his side needed a new quarterback. Guice, 22, took to Twitter and said: “Bro everybody talking about QB’s like dude we have a QB.. he’s going to lead us to the promise land.”
Bro everybody talking about QB’s like dude we have a QB.. he’s going to lead us to the promise land— 2️⃣9️⃣ (@DhaSickest) March 17, 2020
It would be only too simple to believe Rivera—who was at the Carolina helm when he was drafted in 2011—would seek a reunion with the now-former Carolina talisman in his new setup. That’s without taking into account the fact he may see a similar prospect in Haskins, a 6’4” shot-caller who can throw consistently around the 70 percent mark when all is going in his favour.
The Redskins’ recent move to acquire Kyle Allen gives Haskins a contest for the starting job while Alex Smith brings the much-needed experience. That trio could combine to propel the starter with the right mix of camaraderie and competition.
Washington’s free agency window has been mostly a bargain hunt in 2020, but that approach and the trust built from placing faith in existing talent has formed Championship runs in the past.
The future of offensive tackle Trent Williams will decide a lot in the coming months, but tying down guards Brandon Scherff and Wes Schweitzer to contracts provides some steel to the offensive line.
With greater clarity heading into this season as to who will be calling the snaps from Week 1, there’s a chance we’ll see a brand new Haskins emerge from the setup.
Haskins was at the other end of the rookie spectrum compared to Baltimore star Lamar Jackson last season, but 2020 could be just the beginning of his quest to prove the franchise is right to value his place ahead of Newton.