Commanders Make Logan Thomas Decision Amid 3 Salary Cap Moves - Sport News

Commanders Make Logan Thomas Decision Amid 3 Salary Cap Moves

The Washington Commanders already have the most salary cap space in the NFL, but general manager Adam Peters has created more space by cutting tight end Logan Thomas and offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr., while also planning to move on from center Nick Gates.

Logan Thomas

Those moves were confirmed on Friday, March 1. Thomas’ exit was reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, who acknowledged the veteran “was due $6.5 million this upcoming season, including a $500k roster bonus later this month.”

Thomas dealt with injuries in recent seasons, but the Commanders also failed to take advantage of his natural athleticism and versatility. The 32-year-old will be missed, despite middling production, because the roster lacks another credible target at the position.

Garafolo’s colleague Ian Rapoport reported Leno being let go ahead of “hip surgery next week.”

Saying goodbye to Leno has created an additional $7.280 million, according to ESPN’s John Keim. Those extra funds leave Peters and the Commanders with an incredible $96,088,007 to spend this offseason, per Spotrac.com.

That’s more than enough to boost talent across the roster and accelerate the rebuild of a 4-13 team. Fortifying the offensive line should be the first phase of the Commanders’ rebuild, but the job just got harder without starting left tackle Leno.

The latter’s absence raises further question marks about an already suspect offensive front that allowed 65 sacks last season. A Leno-less line will also need to move on without pivotman Gates, who will be released “at the start of the new league year in mid-March,” according to Keim’s colleague Adam Schefter.

Filling two starting spots in the trenches shouldn’t be a problem for the league’s most cap-rich team. Nor should finding a dynamic tight end able to make more of an impact than Thomas managed in four years.

Commanders Wasted Logan Thomas

Thomas converted to tight end after spending time as a quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. He’d been a running and throwing playmaker at Virginia Tech, but the Commanders rarely tapped into his ability to do multiple things.

Plays like this gadget pass to wide receiver Terry McLaurin against the Dallas Cowboys in 2020, highlighted by KCAL’s Darren M. Haynes, were a rarity.

While the Commanders didn’t use Thomas as a Wildcat QB, nor as an extra rushing threat, his snap count at tight end should have been enough. The problem was Thomas received fewer targets as injuries mounted.

He was targeted 110 times in 2020, but only 25 times a season later, thanks to a hamstring problem and a torn ACL. Thomas hauled in just 39 catches in 2022 and 55 last season, per Pro Football Reference.

The diminishing involvement wasted the talents of a pass-catcher capable of plays like this touchdown grab against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021.

 

Washington’s offense needs this kind of weapon at tight end, but coordinator Kliff Kingsbury won’t find one left on the depth chart. Not when John Bates is more of a blocker, while Cole Turner has just three starts and 13 career catches.

This year’s veteran class will offer some intriguing options to replace Thomas. Including Dalton Schultz, Noah Fant and Gerald Everett.

None would break the bank, but they would all offer a more consistent receiving threat than Thomas, while still leaving Peters with enough resources to restock the line.

Commanders Need Charles Leno Jr. Upgrade

Owning the second-overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft positions the Commanders to select one of the marquee quarterbacks in the class. Either Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye.

Investing premium draft capital in a franchise signal-caller means the Commanders can’t afford to go into another season without an elite left tackle. Leno’s a solid pro, but he never fit the elite label.

The 32-year-old allowed three sacks, five QB hits and 34 pressures, per Pro Football Reference. Leno was also guilty of 10 penalties during a trying season.

Free agency isn’t overflowing with plausible tackle choices, but somebody like Cincinnati Bengals’ starter Jonah Williams, who can also play right tackle, fits the bill. There’s also Donovan Smith, who’s won Super Bowls with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Things are different at center, good news since the Commanders are quickly moving on from Gates. He failed to make the grade after arriving from NFC East rivals the New York Giants last offseason.

Replacing Gates with somebody like Connor Williams of the Miami Dolphins or Los Angeles Rams’ anchor Brian Allen would be a coup for the Commanders.

However they decide to approach adding more talent at key positions, Peters, Kingsbury and new head coach Dan Quinn know nobody on the market is out of their range.

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