Commanders Outbid ‘Half the League’ for Undrafted Free Agent

Chigozie Anusiem

Getty The Washington Commanders paid up to outbid “half the league” for one particular undrafted free agent.

Adam Peters wasn’t about to let one of the most sought-after undrafted free agents, cornerback Chigozie Anusiem, get away from the Washington Commanders. So general manager Peters essentially outbid “half the league” to sign the former Colorado State star shortly after the 2024 NFL draft.

The Commanders handed Anusiem “a whopping $50,000 signing bonus and a $300K base salary guarantee, per source. Half the league wanted Anusiem after he went undrafted, and Washington paid up to lock him in,” according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The #Commanders gave former Colorado State CB Chig Anusiem a whopping $50,000 signing bonus and a $300K base salary guarantee, per source. Half the league wanted Anusiem after he went undrafted, and Washington paid up to lock him in.

It’s little wonder Anusiem sounded overjoyed when he posted on X, “Commanders let’s rock!!!,” shortly after joining the team.

Anusiem wasn’t the only member of the Commanders’ rookie free-agent class who received a hefty contract. He was a prospect who visited with several teams as a potential Day 3 pick during the pre-draft process, including one of Washington’s NFC East rivals.

Commanders Paid Heavy Price for Chigozie Anusiem

Peters certainly made sure he got his man when he signed Anusiem to a bloated deal. The hefty terms offered are a sign of three things.

First, the player’s talent. Anusiem logged 3.5 tackles for loss, broke up 11 passes and snatched an interception during two years at Colorado State. He’d transferred from Cal. in 2022 and quickly became a regular starter for the Rams.

His greater playing time revealed a “big, athletic type” with “good IQ,” according to Taylor Kyles of Patriots on CLNS.

Late Day 3 prospect Chigozie Anusiem would be a classic #Patriots CB pick

Fits the big, athletic type they go for in that range, and he showed good IQ with glimpses of disguised coverage, rotations that put him at safety, and being in position for an INT while splitting…

— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) April 21, 2024

Kyles also had Anusiem rated as a “late Day 3 prospect.” He didn’t get drafted there, but instead cashed in because Peters and Commanders’ head coach Dan Quinn are both believers in Anusiem’s ability to transition to the pros.

Perhaps the Commanders’ primary decision-makers also feared seeing Anusiem showcase his talents for a rival. The player was “a surprise 30 visit for” the New York Giants, per’s Art Stapleton.

Like Kyles, Stapleton also envisaged Anusiem hearing his named called on Day 3. What’s more interesting is how both Stapleton and Kyles referenced an interview between Anusiem and The Draft Network’s Justin Melo.

While Melo noted Anusiem spoke with the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals, he also provided an intriguing assessment of the defensive back’s playing style. Specifically, Melo credited Anusiem with “Press-man CB size.”

Quinn’s defense often relies on physical, press-style man coverage, dating back to his days as coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks’ famed ‘Legion of Boom’ unit. Anusiem fits the profile for Quinn’s schemes at a position where the Commanders still need help.

Away from cornerback, the Commanders also paid up to add talent at another key position.

Commanders Gave Big Money to Another UDFA

Peters used the rookie free-agent market to acquire help for the skill positions on offense. Notably, by signing Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman.

Just as Anusiem did, Hartman received a bumper payday to join the Commanders. The passer was given “one of the biggest guarantees among undrafted free agents: a $20,000 signing bonus and $225,000 base salary guarantee,” according to Pelissero.

The #Commanders gave former Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman one of the biggest guarantees among undrafted free agents: a $20,000 signing bonus and $225,000 base salary guarantee. A sign Hartman is in Washington’s plans for 2024.

Hartman will join a QB room set to be headed by second-overall draft pick Jayden Daniels, but also featuring backup Marcus Mariota. The Commanders will have a similar mix at running back, where established pros Austin Ekeler and Brian Robinson Jr. top the depth chart.

They will be joined by undrafted Austin Jones, a former teammate of No. 1 pick Caleb Williams at USC. Signing these players completed a skillful influx of new, more dynamic athletes identified and signed by Peters during draft week.

These newcomers will form the platform for a quick turnaround by the Commanders in 2024.

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