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Riverboat Ron’s top 5 roster moves for the Washington Football Team

Ron Rivera walked into a tough situation in Washington and handled every aspect of it as best as one could imagine. He battled through cancer, encountered turmoil with how the front office had previously treated employees, dealt with controversy surrounding the team’s name that led to a new placeholder name, and faced what was expected to be one of the tougher divisions in football. 

It wasn’t always pretty but Riverboat Ron led Washington to an NFC East division title and beat cancer, all while having to answer for conduct of team management that he wasn’t even around for. Let’s look at the five best Washington roster moves since he took over the Washington Football Team.

1. Signing Logan Thomas

This is one of the most underrated moves in the past year in the NFL. Logan Thomas emerged as a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses and yet prior to 2020 he had achieved very little in the NFL. He was a quarterback in college and for a year in Arizona in 2014. He made a comeback in 2017 when he converted to tight end. In three seasons, two in Buffalo and one in Detroit, he combined for just over 300 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Rivera signed him to a two-year deal worth just over $6M. For a cap hit of roughly $2.5M (Spotrac), Washington got a tight end who finished with 670 yards and six touchdowns, despite sporadic play at quarterback. That’s an absolute steal and continues to be as his cap number in 2021 is only $3.6M.

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2. Drafting Antonio Gibson

Rivera spent a third-round pick on Antonio Gibson in the 2020 draft. The rookie went on to become the full-fledged starter and finished the season with a PFF rating of 80.9. He ran for 795 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 247 receiving yards. Gibson combined with J.D. McKissic have formed one of the most lethal backfields in the NFL last season, all with subpar quarterback production. A re-draft of the 2020 draft, would result in Gibson going in the first round. Another steal for Rivera and Co.

3. Drafting Chase Young

This might seem like it should first on the list of these Washington roster moves; however, I discounted it a bit because it was a more obvious decision. Unlike finding overlooked talent in signing Thomas or drafting Gibson, it was apparent to the entire world the talent of Chase Young. They could have possibly tried to trade out of the pick for additional draft capital or gone in another direction with the pick, but the decision to choose Young here was huge for Washington. It solidified their defensive front as one of the best in the league and the rookie didn’t disappoint. He finished with a PFF of 87.2 on the back of six sack and five forced fumble season. Young and Jamin Davis are one of the best young defensive duos in the league for Washington to build around for years to come.

4. Releasing Dwayne Haskins

This was the best move for the team and Dwayne Haskins himself. Hopefully a change of scenery will help him to sort out some of the issues that caused the end of his career with the team that drafted him. From a team perspective, Rivera made the right choice by moving on from a player that was reportedly causing some issues in the locker room. It may have been a hard sell to ownership that believed in their former first round pick, but the correct decision was made.

5. Signing Taylor Heinicke

With the play of Haskins not living up to some peoples’ expectations and the health of Alex Smith in question, Rivera called upon Taylor Heinicke to add depth to the quarterback position. The two had known each other from their days in Carolina and even though Heinicke was currently out of the league, actually finishing up his college degree, Rivera ingeniously signed him. Heinicke played tremendously well as a fill in for Alex Smith in the playoffs against the Buccaneers and kept the team in the game until the end. He will now compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job in 2021 and will likely serve as a solid backup. At the heart of the turnaround of this franchise are these Washington roster moves choreographed by Riverboat Ron.

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