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Commanders trading QB Sam Howell to Seahawks, teams exchanging draft picks

Sam Howell is on the move.

The Washington Commanders are trading the quarterback to the Seattle Seahawks, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported on Thursday, as part of a deal that amounts to a pick swap. Washington is sending Howell, a 2024 fourth-round pick (No. 102 overall) and a 2024 sixth-round pick (No. 179) in exchange for a 2024 third-rounder (No. 78) and a 2024 fifth-rounder (No. 152).

The teams later confirmed the terms of the deal.

Howell's future in Washington became increasingly uncertain once the Commanders fired his greatest supporter, coach Ron Rivera, and replaced him with Dan Quinn. General manager Adam Peters then proceeded to sign veteran Marcus Mariota this week, giving the team an experienced, low-ceiling option before shopping Howell with the expectation Washington will use the second-overall pick on a quarterback in April's draft.

Howell departs Washington after one season spent as the team's starter, a campaign in which he flashed potential as a playmaker (especially out of structure), but failed to find the consistency necessary to prove he can be a reliable starter in the NFL. As Washington's season unraveled, Howell became increasingly prone to turnovers, playing more and more outside of himself and suffering the consequences.

Rivera was prepared to bench Howell in favor of veteran backup Jacoby Brissett, but a mid-week injury sidelined Brissett, forcing Howell back into the lineup before he could completely lose the job. By the end of the year, it was clear Rivera would be gone, and Howell could follow him out the door.

Howell is leaving Washington for an interesting situation in Seattle, where Geno Smith remains as the team's starter after a season that failed to meet the high expectations Smith had set for himself with an explosive 2022 showing. With two years left on Smith's deal, the Seahawks are taking a low-risk gamble on Howell, who could benefit from a year or two spent learning behind a veteran signal-caller.

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