Jay Gruden spent almost six full seasons as the head coach of the Washington Commanders from 2014-19. Gruden was fired five games into his sixth season as Washington’s coach. These days, Gruden frequently joins some of the radio shows in the Washington area to give his analysis on the Commanders and the NFL.
A former quarterback at Louisville and in the Arena League, Gruden knows quarterbacks. Unfortunately, he never truly got to pick — or keep — his guy during his time in Washington.
The Commanders have a big offseason ahead of them in 2022. They must address the quarterback position, and all indications are that head coach Ron Rivera is prepared to be aggressive.
Rivera has often talked about the four avenues to find a franchise quarterback: current roster, draft, free agency, and trade. We know the answer isn’t on Washington’s roster, and you aren’t going to find the answer in unrestricted free agency. That leaves the draft and the trade market.
In an appearance on “Grant and Danny” of 106.7 The Fan this week, Gruden said if he were Washington, he’d choose the trade avenue.
“I don’t think I’d bank on drafting a guy this year,” Gruden said. This year’s draft class doesn’t have a consensus top quarterback, and many scouts believe the top guy this year would have been No. 6 last year.
As far as the veterans, Gruden likes some more than others.
On Jimmy Garoppolo:
“Garoppolo would help, but I don’t know I’d go after him that hard.”
What about Matt Ryan?
“If Matt Ryan becomes free out of Atlanta, I’d definitely go after Matt Ryan.”
And Derek Carr:
“If Derek Carr becomes free out of Vegas, I’d definitely go after Derek Carr.”
Grant Paulsen then asked Gruden, is Carr a quarterback you give up multiple first-round picks for, to which Gruden replied yes.
“I would, yes; I would because with these No. 1 picks, you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Gruden said. “You know what you’re going to get with Derek. You’re going to get an established guy with Derek.”
Gruden has more intel than most on Carr, as his older brother, Jon, was Carr’s head coach with the Raiders.
Gruden continued with his praise for Carr:
I think you give up more for Carr than Garoppolo personally. Garoppolo has had some success, won some big games, but I think Carr, overall, at the quarterback position he can do a little more than Jimmy. Jimmy does have some upside, he’s still young. Derek has been pretty durable, pretty productive, come from a great system, great knowledge of the game, pre-snap and post-snap. I just think Derek is a little more seasoned than Jimmy.
Gruden made it clear he likes Garoppolo and if Rivera believes Garoppolo is an upgrade, which he’d clearly be for Washington in 2022, then you have to make that move. Of course, Garoppolo wouldn’t be your first choice, but he gives you a chance to improve and perhaps you can take another swing on a young guy in 2023 or 2024 while competing for a playoff berth in the meantime.
As always, it’s a good discussion with Gruden, as there’s some excellent back-and-forth between Paulsen, Danny Rouhier and Gruden.