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The Commanders Get The Ball Rolling In Free Agency

By Mark Solway | March 13th, 2023

The league year doesn’t begin until Wednesday, but the legal tampering period started today at noon. The Commanders made a few moves and might even have been considered busy. They signed a couple of offensive linemen, a linebacker and a cornerback – which were all positions of need.

The Commanders signed offensive lineman Nick Gates from division rival New York Giants, as well as offensive tackle Andrew Wylie from the Kansas City Chiefs.

They also signed linebacker Cody Barton and claimed cornerback Cameron Dantzler off waivers.


Gates started 8 games for the Giants last season after making a heroic comeback from a compound fracture of his left tibia. The injury came in a game against the Washington Football Team in 2021, and required seven surgeries. It also required 410 days!

“Everybody always counted me out from day one,” Gates said upon his return. “Everyone said, ‘I don’t know if he’s ever going to play again.’ First of all, I didn’t even know if I was going to keep my leg or not. So, just proving to everybody that I could do it again.”

The 6’6″ 320 pounder out of Nebraska signed a three-year deal worth a reported $18 Million.

He has played center, guard, and tackle for the Giants – but played mostly at left guard. His versatility will come in handy given the crippling offensive line injury situations that Washington have faced over the last few seasons.

He has seen action in 44 career games – 29 starts – all with New York.


The Commanders also snatched Andrew Wylie away from the defending Super Bowl champions to further bolster their offensive line. He spent the past five years with the Kansas City Chiefs, starting at both tackle and guard.

He will likely start at right tackle, and Sam Cosmi will move inside to right guard.

Wylie agreed to a three-year deal worth $24 million.

The 28-year old has 59 career starts after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent from Eastern Michigan in 2017. He spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers before catching on with the Chiefs.


The Commanders also added Seattle Seahawks free agent linebacker Cody Barton.

Barton appeared in 65 games in his four seasons with the Seahawks, but really only became a starter in 2022. The 26-year old started in 11 games last season and had two interceptions.

Seattle drafted him out of Utah in the 3rd round – 88th overall – of the 2019 NFL Draft.

He has 231 career tackles, two interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery.


Washington grabbed Dantzler off of waivers. The cornerback spent his entire three-year career with the Minnesota Vikings.

He was drafted out of Mississippi State in the 3rd round  – 89th overall – of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The 24-year old flashed plenty of promise, starting ten games in his rookie season; but ultimately couldn’t get back into the lineup last year after being injured.

He was released earlier this week by the Vikings.

Dantzler has 142 career tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 16 pass deflections and 3 interceptions.

Legal Tampering Window

NFL free agency doesn’t officially open until March 15th, but teams could begin negotiating with soon-to-be free agents today at Noon ET. The new league year officially begins on Wednesday, March 15th at 4 p.m. ET.

Any deals agreed to during the tampering period will be made official at that time.

Good Start

While none of the moves were what would be considered splashy – they all potentially filled holes for the Commanders.

That’s a great start, because the team has quite a few of them.

Landing a couple of players who can fill those needs, will allow them to focus on taking the best talent available to them in the Draft in April.


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