Commanders $68M Wide Receiver: ‘Tough’ to See Howell Traded

Terry McLaurin

Getty Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin.

The Washington Commanders are on the verge of drafting a franchise quarterback at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL draft, which will almost certainly be either LSU’s Jayden Daniels or North Carolina’s Drake Maye.

That doesn’t mean everyone on the team is ready to throw last year’s starter under the bus after Sam Howell was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on March 14 along with a fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick in 2024 in exchange for a 2024 third-round pick and fifth-round pick.

Washington’s star wide receiver, Terry McLaurin, told USA Today’s Bryan Manning it was “tough” to see the trade happen despite Howell throwing for an NFL-leading 21 interceptions in 2023.

“It’s always tough seeing someone you build a really good relationship with move on in their career,” said McLaurin, who signed a 3-year, $68.3 million contract extension in June 2022. “Especially your quarterback, because as a receiver, you want to continue to try to build that chemistry. That was only our first year playing with one another, and I feel like him and I made some great plays, and we had some room for growth, and I think that comes with any new quarterback/receiver relationship.”

Sam Howell Fell Flat in One Season as Full-Time Starter

Howell was named the Commanders’ starting quarterback for the final game of the 2022 regular season and guided the team to a 26-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Howell started all 17 games for the Commanders in 2023 as the team finished the season 4-13. Howell threw for 3,946 yards and 21 touchdowns but led the NFL with 21 interceptions and 65 sacks.

While the rest of the team struggled, McLaurin seemed virtually unfazed in the stats column. He inished with 79 receptions for 1,002 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. It was McLaurin’s fourth consecutive season with over 1,000 receiving yards and came despite having a game in which he didn’t have a single catch — a 45-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 3, 2023.

Curtis Samuel was second on the Commanders in receiving with 613 yards on 91 receptions but signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Buffalo Bills on March 15.

Howell will start 2024 as the backup to Geno Smith.

“I’ll always have a lot of respect for Sam, how he handled things good and bad last year,” McLaurin told USA Today. “I think he took a really big step in his career to continue to prove that he can play at a high level.”

Commanders Need Help Pretty Much Everywhere

The Commanders hired a new general manager and new head coach in Adam Peters and Dan Quinn to start 2024, but the cupboard is still pretty bare when it comes to the roster.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates have the Commanders taking Daniels at No. 2 overall in their latest combined mock draft of the first 100 picks. Kiper Jr. and Yates have Washington taking two pass-catching options in the first 100 picks with Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson (No. 67) and Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders.

“Washington should use one of its three third-rounders on a wideout who can help its new quarterback in 2023,” Kiper wrote. “Wilson, who ran a 4.39-second 40 at the combine, can make plays on screens and crossers.”

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