3 moves the Washington Commanders could still make ahead of Week 1

Head coach Ron Rivera and the Washington Commanders have seen a mixed bag through their first two preseason games. On one hand, new quarterback Carson Wentz has looked good in limited action. On the other hand, running back Antonio Gibson has been relegated to backup duties due to some major fumble issues.

We’re not going to know where Washington stands in the NFC East until the regular season gets going. With that said, there’s certainly a lot to take away from these first two preseason games.

If the Commanders want to compete with the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys in the division, there’s still some work for the front office to do. Below, we look at three moves the Commanders could still make ahead of Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Related: Washington Commanders schedule and game-by-game predictions

Washington Commanders sign Chris Harris

washington commanders sign chris harris
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Washington is set out on the boundary at cornerback with Kendall Fuller and William Jackson. However, there’s a major question mark in the slot. Right now, 2021 third-roud pick Benjamin St-Juste tops the depth chart at that all-important position. The Minnesota product yielded a 112.9 QB rating when targeted as a rookie last season.

While Harris has seen his production decline since earning four Pro Bowl appearances earlier in his career, he can still be a veteran contributor. The 33-year-old started 11 games for the Los Angeles Chargers a season ago — yielding a 93.4 QB rating and 60% completion mark when targeted. He’d be an upgrade over St-Juste.

Related: 3 ideal trade destinations for Washington Commanders’ Antonio Gibson

Washington Commanders trade Antonio Gibson

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This has been the story in Maryland during the summer. Gibson lost a fumble in Washington’s preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers. This comes after he put the ball on the turf six times as a sophomore in 2021. To say that the Commanders are not happy with the talented young running back would be an understatement.

“That’s one of the first things that we talk about when we get together as an offense when training camp started is protect the football. We can’t waste possessions, and obviously, if you fumble the ball, that’s a waste of a possession. That’s a ball carrier’s first job, to protect the ball. We can’t have that.”

Washington commanders’ offensiv coordinator Scott Turner on Antonio Gibson

Rivera seems to be favoring rookie third-round pick Brian Robinson to be Washington’s RB1. Veteran J.D. McKissic is the third-down back. There simply might not be room for Gibson in the backfield. Perhaps, moving off the young back for a player at a different position could help. Pure conjecture here, but the Los Angeles Rams have a need at running back. Someone like safety Taylor Rapp could make sense as part of a package heading to D.C. in a hypothtical trade.

Related: Washington Commanders standing in our updated NFL power rankings

Washington Commanders trade for Jessie Bates

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Talk about potential blockbuster. By now, it’s known that Bates is not happy with his current situation with the Cincinnati Bengals. He is set to play under the franchise tag this season and has no real long-term future with the defending AFC champions with rookie first-round Dax Hill set to take over at some point.

Bates would be an absolutely perfect fit in defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s system. He’s a sure tackler and boasts tremendous range in coverage. He’d certainly be an upgrade over Washington’s starting strong safety in that of Kamren Curl. It would set Washington’s defensive backfield up for success.

This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.

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