With a reworked front office and free agency around the corner, it's the perfect time of year to make bold predictions about the Washington Football Team you'll soon regret.
106.7 The Fan's Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay offered up their boldest on Tuesday
"I am rarely this bullish, but I legitimately think Washington's gonna take some big swings in free agency," Finlay set up the topic. "I think if you look at what they tried to do last year, specifically at receiver, and then you combine that with the cash they have available and just knowing... I think the NFC East is there to be taken."
"Obviously quarterback's a huge question and you gotta fix that," he said. "But I really think they're gonna make some major moves."
"I think they feel they have to," said Mitchell. "A lot of fans will just say, 'Oh, let's stay as is,' but the other teams are gonna improve. The other teams won't have those injuries that they had last year, and that's the one thing that troubles me of all of this: injuries. The other teams had bigger injuries than we had last year and we know how that injury that, it moves from team to team to team.
"So you have to be concerned about something of that nature, because if Saquon is back in that backfield, it's gonna be a little different in New York."
FINLAY: Washington will sign WR Allen Robinson
After striking out on Amari Cooper last offseason, Finlay thinks Washington is ready to take another crack at signing a big-time wide receiver. with Bears wideout Allen Robinson at the top of their list. In Finlay's view, Washington won't be able to land a star quarterback via the unusually active trade market, and the best way to compensate for that would be to bring in another stud receiver to pair with Terry McLaurin.
"I legitimately think Washington's gonna make a play for Allen Robinson," he said. "In the last two years, he's averaged about 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns per year. He will make that offense so much better. He will make Terry McLaurin better. He'll make Antonio Gibson better. He'll make Logan Thomas better."
"They did not have a ton of big plays. I think they'll get way more of those," he said. "Washington this past season averaged 9.8 yards per completion. That was the second-lowest total in the NFL."
BMITCH: Given a full season, Taylor Heinicke will pass for over 4,000 yards
With Washington severely lacking in big-play ability in 2020, Taylor Heinicke has the exact right mental makeup to take more shots downfield. BMitch is predicting a big season for Heinicke — somewhere in the realm of 4,000 and 4,500 yards passing — should he get the opportunity to start in 2021 after re-signing on a two-year contract extension.
While that's certainly bold, the real treat here was JP and BMitch squabbling like a married couple over the specific number he's predicting.
BMitch: I believe if Heinicke is the quarterback, they can go over 4,000 yards passing, because he's gonna take the chances.
JP: Now, the number you told me here in the break room while we were preparing.
BMitch: I said 4,500.
JP: Forty-five hundred!
BMitch: That's over 4,000 passing [yards] isn't it?
JP: Yeah, but are you saying 4,500? Or are you saying 4,000?
BMitch: I'm saying over 4,000. When was the last time we had a quarterback throw it 4,000?
BMitch: Okay. How long ago?
BMitch: Yeah. So a 4,200-yard year would be a fantastic year, don't ya think?
JP: Absolutely. But you said 4,500... If you are attaching a name to 4,200, it's bold.
BMitch: I said Heinicke! I said if Heinicke is your starter, you're going 4,200. Or higher.
Between four different quarterbacks, Washington threw for 3,465 yards as a collective offensive unit in 2020.
FINLAY: Washington will move on from RB Peyton Barber
Peyton Barber filled a very specific role for Washington as its short yardage back in 2020, collecting 258 yards and four touchdowns on 94 carries while averaging 2.7 yards per attempt. While the running back did what he was asked to do, Finlay believes they'll find someone who can do that, plus a little more, this offseason.
"I'm not knocking Peyton Barber at all," he said. "He was asked for a very specific role and I think he accomplished that role. They don't care whatsoever about the 2.7 yards per carry, because they'd put him and need 2.0 and he'd get 'em 2.1 and everybody was happy with it."
"I think they're going to try and improve their short yardage back," he continued. "I don't think they're gonna draft another running back, but I won't be shocked if Peyton Barber is out and they have another guy they plan on giving that short yardage to."
"I think he's a short yardage back and there's a role for that in the NFL," he went on to say. "But I do think they wouldn't mind if they had a guy that could deliver short yardage but also possibly do more, and I think maybe that's where they look."
BMITCH & FINLAY: Alex Smith won't be back at $24 million
Alex Smith will be 37 next season. It's quite possible to acknowledge both his incredible comeback for what it was, a once-in-a-lifetime comeback story that should never be forgotten, and that Smith is an aging quarterback who's probably not worth bringing back on a $24 million price tag.
That seems to be where Finlay lines up on the matter. Unless Smith is willing to take a pay cut, it's likely the end of the road for him in Washington, a realization all the more likely when you consider Smith probably still wants to be a starter somewhere.
"I talked to one coach this offseason specifically about Alex and I think this is when I knew that retirement was off the books, that he's not interested," Finlay said. "And what the coach said is forget the injury, forget the comeback, forget the rehab, forget all the work that went into it. Deep down, NFL football players love playing football.
"They love being in the locker room. They love being with the guys. They love the structure. They love everything that goes about it. And I think for Alex, he's just not ready to give that up. I mean guys claw to stay in the league as long as they can, and I don't think Alex is going to give that up."