Washington commanders canvass NFL for starting QB, says general manager Martin Mayhew

Washington Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew acknowledged the obvious on Wednesday: the franchise is looking everywhere for a quarterback.

“We think we’ve surveyed the league effectively,” Mayhew told reporters at the NFL’s scouting meeting in Indianapolis. “We’ve spoken to every club that has a quarterback that might be available.”

That means they’ve inquired about quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, among others. Both likely remain longshots to trade, meaning Washington should move on to other options.

“Every time you hear something, you check,” Washington coach Ron Rivera told reporters Tuesday. “And so we have to do our job. We have to do our due diligence.”

Rivera said they have four options: trade for someone, sign a free agent, sign someone, or stay with Taylor Heinicke.

Mayhew said that while they considered Heinicke “the ultimate contender”, they were trying to level up. The franchise has started 32 quarterbacks since its last Super Bowl victory after the 1991 season; he has started eight in the past three seasons.

A source told ESPN that commanders compiled an initial long list of about 40 quarterbacks to at least discuss or investigate, including those in college.

Says Mayhew: “There aren’t three dozen upgrades to what we have. There are a lot of options available to us and we’re trying to figure them out now.”

The San Francisco 49ers have made it known that Jimmy Garoppolo is available in a trade. Washington will also be strongly considering the free agent market, where they could sign Mitchell Trubisky or Teddy Bridgewater and possibly pair them with a second- or third-round quarterback.

“It’s very difficult,” Rivera said of finding a franchise quarterback. “I was very lucky in Carolina. We found our franchise quarterback [Cam Newton] right now. We wrote it. … When you get that guy, it makes things a lot easier. Not having that guy really put the blame on us.”

Washington attempted to trade Matthew Stafford last offseason, offering a first- and third-round pick to the Detroit Lions, who instead traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for two first-round picks, a third-round selection and quarterback Jared Goff.

“If you don’t have a franchise quarterback, you have to have the urgency to [finding one] every year,” Mayhew said. “We were very urgent about it last year. I’m not sure it was a fair fight for Matthew last year, I’ll leave it at that. We did everything to find the right person.”

Lions general manager Brad Holmes had spent the previous eight seasons with the Rams.

Washington also made it clear in the offseason that he didn’t want to mortgage the team’s future. It’s one of the reasons he considered trading last spring to draft Justin Fields, but felt the price was too high.

Rivera, however, expressed confidence in the roster’s current situation, which led to a desire to be more aggressive.

“Does anyone really care what was traded for Matthew Stafford last year? No,” Rivera said.

Mayhew said there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the No. 1 quarterback in this year’s rookie class. He also said that they are also considering who will be available next year.

“It’s a class of quality quarterbacks this year,” Mayhew said. “At the moment I think there may be some separation here at the combine. We can see some of that happening. But we are also aware of our options until next year. We Let’s look at fixing it now, if possible. And that’s where we’re focusing.

Both Mayhew and Rivera have spoken about the importance of offseason interviews with potential draft picks, both to check on their football intelligence and level of maturity. In an ideal world, Rivera said, they find someone who is both a pure passer and an athlete.

“If you can find a guy who can do both,” he said, “you’re very lucky.”

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