Kliff Kingsbury is the new offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders. The team announced the hire on Monday after bringing on former Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as head coach last week. This hire doesn’t just signify the arrival of a coach, though — Kingsbury served as a senior offensive analyst at USC in 2023, where he coached top draft prospect Caleb Williams.
The Commanders seem to have their sights set on the Trojans quarterback, who also happens to be a D.C. native. However, they currently hold the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The Bears hold No. 1 after trading away their top overall pick in 2023 to the Panthers, who failed to get off the ground this season.
The Commanders have a few options here if they are putting their cards on the table for Williams. They could cross their fingers that the Bears remain comfortable with Justin Fields and decide to go elsewhere with the top overall pick. However, since it’s clear how much Washington wants Williams, the Bears likely won’t let that happen.
The second option is to trade up for the first overall 2024 pick with the Bears. For reference, when the Panthers traded up to No. 1 for Bryce Young last season, they gave up their own first-round selection at No. 9, a late-second-round pick, a 2024 first-round selection and a 2025 second-round pick. The Commanders sit at No. 2, which may mean that their trade package doesn’t have to be quite as valuable, but Chicago knows that they can raise their demands to a certain level in this transaction.
Quinn is a defensive mind, so Kingsbury will likely have full control of the offense in the upcoming season. The Commanders have struggled to figure out their QB situation for the past few seasons, and Washington will need Williams to turn out to be more of a CJ Stroud than a Bryce Young for this to work. They still have Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett on the depth chart as of the Kingsbury hire. This strategy is a big investment for a first-time head coach, but far from an unprecedented one.
If selected, Williams would work mostly with receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, and the Commanders may also choose to grab a later-round WR in the 2024 draft. Curtis Samuel comes up on free agency during this offseason, so his future in Washington is uncertain. Dotson was the Commanders’ first-round pick in 2022, and they are still waiting on him to reach his full potential with a top QB.
Kingsbury was the head coach at Texas A&M from 2013-2018 and the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2019-2022, where he went 28–37–1.