Commanders Can Add ‘Pass-Rush Specialist’ for Jonathan Allen Depth

Jonathan Allen

Getty The Washington Commanders can add depth behind Jonathan Allen by signing an "interior pass-rush specialist" in free agency.

Defensive tackle is one of the few positions where the Washington Commanders are well-stocked, thanks to Pro Bowler Jonathan Allen, but “interior pass-rush specialist” Quinton Jefferson would still be a useful addition in 2024 NFL free agency.

It’s an idea put forward by Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus. He believes “Washington has the dynamic duo of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne but not much behind them to spell them and still get after the quarterback. Enter interior pass-rush specialist Quinton Jefferson, who never played for Dan Quinn but has worked with many of his proteges over the years.”

Jefferson’s familiarity with the schemes of new Commanders’ head coach Dan Quinn is significant. So is Jefferson being one of the hidden gems of this year’s veteran market after a productive season with the New York Jets.

He’s a proven commodity as a pass-rusher. Somebody Quinn could trust to not only put heat on the pocket, but also cover for or even replace one of Allen or fellow D-tackle Daron Payne.

Quinton Jefferson Has Skills to Fit Dan Quinn’s Defense

The foundation of Quinn’s system is a deep rotation of versatile defensive linemen able to rush the passer in waves. Jefferson fits the blueprint after he played for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021 under Gus Bradley, who preceded Quinn as defensive coordinator for Seattle Seahawks in 2012.

The Jets ran a similar scheme that showcased Jefferson’s effectiveness. He proved adept at winning against traffic. Like when he split a double team to get in on this sack of Jalen Hurts against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6, highlighted by “Cool Your Jets” co-host Michael Nania.

Plays like this were common for Jefferson whenever he rolled onto the field to supplement the Jets’ pass rush. The eight-year pro logged six sacks and 13 quarterback hits, to go with 18 pressures and five hurries, per Pro Football Reference.

There isn’t a deputy tackle on Washington’s roster with Jefferson’s ability to generate pressure. Instead, the Commanders have relied on functional run stuffers like John Ridgeway and Phidarian Mathis.

Neither possess the first-step quickness, agility nor pass-rush plan Jefferson used to notch this sack against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 9.

Jefferson would be an asset for the Commanders. Somebody Quinn and defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. could move across formations from end to tackle in obvious passing situations.

Health will be a factor after Jefferson landed on injured reserve with a hip problem back in December. Once he’s up to speed, he could be a bargain.

Especially if the Commanders choose to move on from Allen.

Jonathan Allen a Popular Trade Candidate

Allen’s name has been mentioned in trade scenarios more than once already this offseason. The Kansas City Chiefs have been named as one potential destination for Allen, while another scenario involves No. 93 landing with the Houston Texans.

It makes sense for Allen to be a trade candidate. His contract runs for another two seasons and includes a cap hit worth $23 million in 2025, per

After that, Allen will be 31 and a free agent. Cashing in on his trade value now would be one way for the Commanders to accelerate their rebuild.

Another way to view his situation is to acknowledge the Commanders need all of the marquee talent they can get to inspire a quick turnaround. Allen fits the bill as a dominant interior presence who just needs more help.

Jefferson would provide plenty of help as a member of a more dynamic rotation.

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