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Free Agent Target: Steve Breaston

While Free Agency for next year is still completely up in the air, it's worthwhile to start considering some of the possibilities for filling needs on the Redskins roster. Keep in mind Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have established patterns from Denver, Tampa Bay, and Oakland when it comes to Free Agency -- he doesn't overspend for guys, he likes savvy veterans, and he's willing to take a few rolls of the dice on guys with upside.

One possible candidate for an outside receiver position with some size is Steve Breaston, the Arizona Cardinal. He's likely to be a bit underpriced in a crowded market -- he's had terrible quarterbacks throwing to him this season which have brought his numbers down, but he's shown flashes of real skill, and he's just 27. That said, the Cardinals aren't making moves to resign him to a longterm deal.

At the Arizona Republic, they write about how Breaston bounced back from a knee injury earlier this season:

Breaston entered the game leading the team's receivers in yards per catch (16.1) and receptions of at least 20 yards (15), so Roberts' ascension brings into question the Cardinals' plan for Breaston beyond this season.

In his fourth season, Breaston played this year under a one-year tender offer of $2.4 million. Depending upon the outcome of labor negotiations between the NFL and players union, Breaston could become a free agent after the season. Yet the Cardinals have shown little interest in re-signing him.

Why? It's not a subject people involved care to discuss.

Messages to Breaston were not returned. His agent, Eric Metz, declined comment, as did Cardinals General Manager Rod Graves.

The most likely reason for lack of contract talks is Breaston's right knee. He underwent surgery Sept. 28 to repair a torn meniscus, a procedure that often requires four to six weeks' rehabilitation time.

Breaston missed three games and has had to nurse the knee through the season. He has missed practice time, but he has played in every game since.

Breaston's conversation on Twitter the other day with teammates gives more indication that he doesn't expect to be back. As a receiver with some size (at 6'1, he's taller than any currently active wideout on the Redskins' roster) and physical toughness.

I think it's safe to assume the Redskins aren't going to break the bank for a true #1 receiver (needs seem far too great at other positions for them to invest in that), and all indications are that Santana Moss wants to come back on a short term deal. Assuming that's the case, Breaston makes a great deal of sense as a value pickup to stick on the outside and operate as a midrange possession guy.

With Armstrong and Moss, backed up by Austin and Banks, you've got your small speedsters and deep threats. What this team needs at the receiver position is an injection of physical toughness and a proven ability to get open in the midrange 12-15 yard move-the-chains routes. You can't count on anything from Malcolm Kelly, and Roydell Williams is the only WR on this team listed at 6 foot (ridiculous to have him running fade routes).

We can't expect this FO to sign a Vincent Jackson or make a big trade for a true number one. A Breaston pickup would save money for other areas while giving the receiver corps an injection of some workmanlike toughness.

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