We here in Washington know that Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato are not afraid to take some chances in the offseason.
Seeing as we have four draft picks -- and only one on the first day in the first round -- who would be surprised to see the Redskins make some free agent moves?
This article from Yahoo! Sports profiles a few top-tier free agents that are going to be available this offseason. Among the interesting names to the Redskins: Terrell Suggs, Darren Sproles, Derrick Ward, Julius Peppers, Jordan Gross, Vernon Carey, and most tantalizingly, Albert Haynesworth.
Yes, I included Running Backs in our wishlist based on this article by JLC over at the Washington Post. He agrees with me when he argues we need a home run back to add another dimension to our offense -- the big play department. Clinton looks so tired by the time he hits the second level that he never breaks runs over 20 yards, it seems like. Look what Chris Johnson did for LenDale White, what Jonathon Stewart did for DeAngelo Williams, what Darren Sproles did for LT. We have another great RB in Betts, but his value is as a pass-catcher and as a possession-type RB.
But for my main point.
The Redskins could solve a few of their problems instantly with another (sigh) marquee free agent crop. Seeing that the Redskins are geared to cut at least two or three big salaries off of their payroll, it makes complete sense to me that they become the Yankees of this offseaso (again).
This chart is my reference for what I'm about to do here. Shawn Springs will cost 8.4 million against the cap, and played less than half a season last year (albeit at a high level). Jason Taylor will be making 8 million, and he will probably either need to restructure or be released. Jon Jansen will cost 3.4 million, Marcus Washington 6.5, Cornelius Griffin and Antwaan Randle-El in the 6.2 million range.
Each player is relatively expendable, although I certainly don't see Randle-El or Griffin leaving (although one would hope they would consider restructuring). Say we cut off just Springs and Taylor and Washington -- that is 24 million dollars in house money to play with.
I'm saying right now that there's a 100% chance the Redskins make a play at Albert Haynesworth. That article from Yahoo! says that he cannot be franchised this offseason. Putting him on the same DL as Carter, Griffin, Evans/Daniels (I'm assuming Taylor is gone) makes them a stout unit immediately. Haynesworth will draw double teams, which will free up Griffin (who was surprisingly doubled by many teams this year) and Carter.
Nate Clements signed an 8 year, 80 million dollar deal in '07 which was the most for a defensive player in league history. Doubtless, the Redskins would pay more for that for Haynesworth. And he will probably be less expensive (and more effective?) than Juilius Peppers would be, as a DT and not a DE.
Of course, this is all speculation and a 21-year-old in his basement on winter break writing this, but it doesn't take much more than that level of intelligence to assume that Snyder/Cerrato/Blache/Zorn will salivate over Haynesworth.
I imagine the Redskins will express interest in Terrell Suggs as well. The Ravens have all three of their franchise LB's going to the market this season: Ray Lewis, Suggs, and Bart Scott. I imagine a boatload of money would be needed for any of the three to leave given how sweet that defense is, and I definitely presume Ray Lewis isn't leaving. So at least one of Scott and Suggs will hit the free-agent market. Will it be Suggs? I think Scott is more likely, but if Suggs is on the market, expect us to make a play for him. Right?
I hope the Redskins try to get a running back that is there simply to be dynamic. We don't need a franchise guy, but we could use a guy who can get the ball less than 10 times a game but be a factor. Sproles will be overpaid by someone, and because we have Portis and pricey Ladell Betts, I'm sure it's not us -- although he'd be perfect. But Derrick Ward could be an interesting option for us. He is a quick, strong guy that can make plays out of the backfield. I also could see the Redskins maybe taking a RB with that pick in the 3rd round.
The Redskins need youth and game-changing players for the next few seasons. I fully hope that the Redskins invest in at least 1 OL and 1 DL in the draft. If Heyer or Reinhart is ready to go, that would be ideal -- but expect an upgrade.
But the Skins have way more of a need than the one possible starter (1st rounder) and 3 likely role-players/projects (3rd, 4th or 5th, I cant remember, and 6th) that they could get in the draft. They must fill these holes with free agents, and with a few pieces of the puzzle, we could be looking at another big crop of game-changers coming to Washington.
Hopefully, this potential group will be somewhere near as good on the field as they are on paper.