Commanders’ sneakiest 2023 NFL free agency signing

The Washington Commanders have made some solid moves in 2023 NFL free agency. The Commanders’ free agent signings include quarterback Jacoby Brissett, guard/center Nick Gates, and linebacker Cody Barton. However, the sneakiest Commanders’ free agency move is signing tackle Andrew Wylie away from the Kansas City Chiefs.

Andrew Wylie is the sneakiest Commanders’ free agent signing

The Commanders struggled on offense last season. The team was 24th in points scored and 20th in yards gained. The offensive line also gave up 48 sacks, the seventh-most in the NFL in 2022.

Washington’s biggest problem last season was quarterback. Neither Taylor Heinicke nor Carson Wentz was able to give the team what they needed, despite a plethora of offensive weapons.

Wide receivers Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and rookie Jahan Dotson, along with tight end Logan Thomas make up one of the better pass-catching corps in the NFL. And running backs Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson are in the conversation for the best 1-2 RB punch in the league.

Ahead of the 2023 offseason getting underway in earnest, the Commanders made a big move, hiring offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy away from the Chiefs. With the new OC at the helm, it now looks like second-year signal-caller Sam Howell will be the team’s starting QB in 2023.

So, the Commanders have a stacked skill position group, an exciting young prospect at QB, and a new play-caller. The last step of this building of an elite offense is protecting Howell with an upgraded offensive line.

That’s what Commanders free agency focused on in 2023. And it’s why the first player the team reached out to when NFL free agency opened wasn’t a quarterback or a big-name player. It was Chiefs offensive lineman Andrew Wylie.

Wylie is a 6-foot-6, 310-pound lineman who started 59 games at both guard and tackle over his five seasons with the Chiefs. That includes all 17 games at right tackle last season as the Chiefs won their second Super Bowl in the last four years.

The Commanders’ free agent signings in the offensive line focused on versatility, which will allow Bieniemy to build the best O-line possible to start next season. Nick Gates can play both guard and center, and Wylie is as comfortable inside as he is outside.

During NFL free agency, the Commanders lost starting guard Wes Schweitzer, and his opposite number, Trai Tuner, is still on the market at the end of March. These are big losses in Commanders’ free agency, but it means more competition, and possibly a better line in 2023.

The left side of the line is pretty much locked down with Charles Leno at left tackle and Andrew Norwell and left guard. The rest is up in the air.

Gates will compete with Chase Roullier at center, and if the incumbent wins the job, the former New York Giants lineman will kick over to right guard. At that position, youngster Chris Paul will compete (possibly) with Gates as well as Sam Cosmi, who is a tackle by trade. That means Cosmi and Wylie will likely vie to become the right side of the line, and whoever is better at each position will start there.

There are two other reasons Andrew Wylie is such a sneaky-good Commanders free agent signing. One is depth. Injuries last season wrecked the Washington line. Eleven different players started at least one game. Adding a player who can play multiple positions like Wylie should help solidify that group, even if injuries do happen again.

The other big reason this Commanders’ free agent signing is so good is that Wylie knows Beiniemy’s system. The former Chiefs OC is the only OC that Wylie has ever played for. And as Bieniemy starts to implement his way of doing things, having someone who knows what he wants and can help teach that to the others is huge.

Especially with a young QB, having a leader on the O-line is crucial. Wylie and Bieniemy come from a team with an incredibly strong, offensive-minded head coach and the best quarterback in the NFL. They won’t have that in Washington.

This is now Bieniemy’s show on the offensive side of the ball, as Ron Rivera is a defensive guy. Commanders fans should look for Wylie to be the main man on the O-line as the new system comes about, which is why he will definitely start somewhere in Week 1 of 2023.

Andrew Wylie wasn’t the biggest name, by any means, on the 2023 NFL free agency market. However, he was the name at the top of the Commanders’ free agency board. And that’s why he’s the sneakiest Commanders’ free agent signing this offseason.

The post Commanders’ sneakiest 2023 NFL free agency signing appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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