Washington Football Team fans are so accustomed to the organization lying to them that it's been tough to adjust to coaches and executives telling the truth.
Washington did not trade up for a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft. Washington did not draft a quarterback in the second round of the draft either, even when some decent options were on the board with the 51st pick. Washington didn't take a quarterback in the third round either.
Because they didn't want one badly enough.
Ron Rivera's team signed veteran passer Ryan Fitzpatrick in March with the absolute intention of him starting in 2021. Hell, if things go well and no better veteran option emerges, he could even start again in 2022.
This isn't an accident. It's on purpose.
They like Fitzpatrick and want to build out the entire roster to be a consistent playoff team, a consistent division winner.
Spending big at quarterback in free agency and missing cripples the salary cap, and spending big in a trade for a rookie quarterback cripples the future.
Washington doesn't want to pursue either of those options.
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Here's the thing too - the Washington brass has been forthright about the plan. For weeks. Some fans just wouldn't listen.
- Washington GM Martin Mayhew, April 16th: "We do feel very confident and comfortable with the quarterbacks on our roster right now. I’m excited about working with each and every one of those guys."
- Washington HC Ron Rivera, April 16th: "I think from a big-picture perspective, it’s really about getting the right quarterback whether it’s a young guy or an old guy. You’ve got to look and say: ‘Hey, this is the fit that we want. This is the fit that we need. Now’s the time.’ We’ll see. Again, as far as the draft is concerned, we’re going to react to what happens in front of us."
Thursday night after the draft's first round, the Washington brass doubled down.
- Mayhew: "Quarterbacks look good, but we have some excellent quarterbacks on our roster right now. We feel great about [QBs] Ryan [Fitzpatrick], Taylor [Heinicke], Steven Montez, we feel great about [QB] Kyle Allen. So, we have some talented quarterbacks here already but there are some on the board as well."
- Rivera: "We just felt looking at where we are right now with what we're doing to be patient to sit and wait to see what happens, we felt strong about that. This isn't just about one piece, we have a chance to put pieces into place and we felt that a better direction, at least I felt that's a better direction for us right now."
On Friday night - after three more QBs got selected but none by Washington- Mayhew reiterated his stance.
- Mayhew: "We tried to take guys that fit positions of need but that also were guys that were graded well when we were on the clock. That’s how we’re kind of approaching the whole thing, and we feel like the quarterbacks we have are good football players. There are other good football players out there who play the quarterback position, but we’re going to look at everything at a holistic level at every opportunity."
- Rivera: "I think Martin said it exactly right. Our guys did a great job."
Read the words. Let them sink in.
Washington wasn't taking a quarterback because they actually like their options, starting with Fitzpatrick, and going on down the roster.
Think about it this way - through three rounds, the 2021 NFL Draft has seen a furious amount of trade activity and a record amount of quarterbacks drafted.
Despite all of that, Washington made no trades and took no QBs.
This is a long-term build for Rivera, and it might be happening with an eye towards an ever-changing landscape with veteran QBs around the league.
Related: Mayhew insists WFT 'didn’t think seriously' about QB trade
Earlier this offseason, the Burgundy and Gold swung hard to get Matthew Stafford in a trade before the Rams made Detroit an offer they couldn't refuse.
There will be more disgruntled veteran QBs, and there will be more trades. Expect Washington to stay on the lookout, just like many other NFL teams.
Rivera has a saying for his team where he encourages his players to "be where your feet are." It means for players and coaches to stay focused on the task at hand without daydreaming or slipping away from that exact moment in that precise location.
The conversation about Washington going after a young quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft was just that, conversation. Nothing materialized.
For now, Washington will continue to build their best team while maintaining confidence in their QB plan for 2021. That starts with Fitzpatrick and extends to Heinicke and Allen too.
Right where their feet are.