The Redskins are methodically going about their business in free agency. First order of business? The restricted free agents and five of the six are being brought back. As we proceed into the unrestricted portion, the team will need to clear some cap space. Thanks to the ridiculous penalty imposed by the NFL, the Skins are playing catchup before the race even starts. Fortunately, the new regime of Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have not made the splashy free agent signings in recent years and have done a much better job utilizing the draft. In other words, it could be a lot worst.
Prior to the signings over the weekend, the Redskins were approximately $3 million dollars over the 2013 cap. The Redskins began the reduction by releasing cornerback DeAngelo Hall and with it $8 million in savings, but more needs to be done. The team may also opt to restructure contracts, as they did today with defensive end Adam Carriker. Linebacker Brian Orakpo and cornerback Josh Wilson remain restructure targets, each with a number exceeding $5 million dollars for 2013. In all, the Redskins need to trim anywhere from $15-20 million dollars to have enough cash to not only fill out their depth chart, but sign draft picks and a practice squad.
Before we take a look at where we are going forward, here are more potential cap savings of over one million dollars.
Santana Moss WR $4,500,000.00
London Fletcher LB $3,500,000.00
Reed Doughty DB $1,375,000.00
Brandon Meriweather DB $1,300,000.00
A way too early look at the roster heading into the 2013 season follows. The number of projected players at each position in indicated in parenthesis. Remaining unrestricted free agents and other notes are added, along with veteran on the roster entering OTA's. Some positions will be filled through free agency, others through the draft, most through a combination of both. We have already seen the team add veteran offensive tackle Tony Pashos and defensive linemen Ron Brace and Phillip Merling, they probably give a good indication at what many of the free agent acquisitions may look like. Talent that was taken fairly high in the draft, but has failed to develop for one reason or another.
Returning: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins
Free Agent: Rex Grossman
Obviously, the biggest wildcard on the team is the health of RG3. As he goes through rehab, Cousins gets a great opportunity to run with the first team. With former Redskin Jason Campbell arguably the top veteran free agent at the position, look for Grossman to be retained. If Kyle Shanahan opts to go with a rookie as his third signal caller, Matt Scott of Arizona is a nice fit for the Redskins scheme.
Running Back (3)
Returning: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Keiland Williams
Can Morris do it again? It will be interesting to see how the reduced role RG3 has in the running game will impact his effectiveness, if at all. The Skins need a speed back if they plan on continuing to run the option. Last season, they were forced to do so with wide receiver types, a return to health of Helu would be a huge plus. Local product Royster is an excellent alternative if Morris should be slowed by injury. Shanahan always drafts a back with Utah State's Kerwynn Williams a possibility if Helu can't return. New England's Danny Woodhead has been mentioned as a possible veteran option, with Pittsburgh's Chris Rainey a big time speed back also available.
Returning: Darrel Young
The Redskins moved quickly in ensuring that Young remained a Redskin for the foreseeable future. Young is a well rounded fullback, capable of contributing in every phase of the offense. The Skins may bring a veteran into camp and/or an undrafted free agent. Fairfax County product by way of West Virginia, Owen Schmitt is an overachiever with an old school style. Ohio State rookie Zach Boren may be a target after the draft
Wide Receiver (5)
Returning: Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, Dezmon Briscoe, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss
Was Brandon Banks' fate sealed with the departure of special teams coach Danny Smith? Moss seems a likely target for cap savings as his $4.5 million would go a long way. Dezmon Briscoe seems to be a popular choice to be let go, I'd like to see him get more opportunities between now and September with his combination of size and speed. New England's Julian Edelman has been rumored as a possible replacement in the slot, should Moss be released. Edelman has many similarities to Wes Welker. Giants receiver Ramses Barden is a huge target looking for a chance. Virginia Tech's Marcus Davis has unusual speed and size. Denard Robinson might be a nice utility player, wide out, quarterback and kick returner.
Tight End (3)
Returning: Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul
Free Agent: Fred Davis, Chris Cooley
The Browns have expressed interest in Davis, but it appears he may end up back in Burgundy and Gold on a one year deal. The free agent tight end market isn't very deep with Tennessee's Jared Cook the only potential marquee talent. If Davis doesn't return, could Cooley have one more year left? San Diego State's Gavin Escobar could be a real bargain in the draft, my favorite is Stanford's Levine Toilolo (6'8" 265).
Returning: Will Montgomery
The Skins will soon need to think about Montgomery's eventual replacement and may have plans to move either LeRibeus or Gettis to the position when the time comes. A veteran free agent is unlikely, but an undrafted free agent like Clemson's Dalton Freeman makes sense.
Returning: Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus, Maurice Hurt, Adam Gettis, Chris Chester
Was the re-signing of Lichtensteiger a down vote for LeRibeus? You would hope that a third round guard would have the ability to challenge for a starting job by his second season. Chester has been reliable and durable. If Hurt gets time on the outside at tackle, we may finally see what Gettis has to offer. A veteran free agency is unlikely with Lichtensteiger's return, look for the Skins to give James Madison guard Earl Watford a look if he is available in later rounds.
Returning: Trent Williams, Tom Compton, Tony Pashos (FA)
Free Agent: Tyler Polumbus, Jordan Black
Jammal Brown is finally gone, along with 3.3 million in wasted cap space. The acquisition of Pashos was more than a rumor, he is joining the battle at right tackle. I am alone, but I really like Polumbus and hope he is brought back, even if he ends up in a reserve role. In my opinion, Compton remains a long term project. The "experts" believe Ryan Harris is going to be the big free agent pickup, he has ties to Shanny in Denver and the offensive scheme in Houston. Eric Winston is an elite tackle, but may be too expensive. Will Terron Armstead's combine move his stock up too high? I still like North Carolina's Brennan Williams.
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