1. As everyone is reporting, the lockout could be over by the 21st of this month. Apparently DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell have not been reading Hogs Haven, because I am sure I called for a July 15th deal back in May.
2. We are going to be treated to the "Lightning Round" of free agency when this thing starts to get resolved. ADVANTAGE: REDSKINS! I mean, come on...what team is better than Washington when it comes to signing players with record speed? We have money to spend and a proven record of landing targets very, very quickly. Assuming we will be competing with at least one or two other teams, we can rest assured knowing that Dan Snyder doesn't get caught blinking too often when it comes to bidding on players he covets.
3. I know, I know...the last thing we want is a loose cannon (Dan Snyder) bidding against himself. I also don't think this is the year that we should be bringing in a bunch of guys in their primes for top dollar. I feel like we need another year to get our feet under this new regime still and I really want see some of our younger players step up into contributing roles this year. It's not that I don't think there are quality players available that could lock down starting roles on our team immediately. I am worried that if we go that route, we will never find out about some of our younger players, and the black hole that has been our development program in recent years will grow bigger.
4. Damn...but we need talent. And this year we could see the biggest pool of talent to come along in years. It is true that we need to bring in at least a few players who will be capable of contributing in 2011 and beyond. I guess I am just really looking for the kind of no-name hard-working guys that can take us one step closer to having a deep roster, and not big-money players that may prevent us from "discovering" the depth that could already exist here.
5. Part of me would be a little conflicted seeing a top-notch player come here for a huge payday. I mean, we have seen that movie, and it usually involves a player who cares more about the dough than the game. I would much rather see that same kind of player sign up in 2012 when we will hopefully be that much closer to being a contender. I want that player to believe his presence could change our fortunes. The fact is that there is not a single player poised to be a free agent that could legitimately claim to be the "missing piece" to our run at a Super Bowl. Maybe that is a bar set too high for our own good. Instead of debating the topic of Vick vs Burress this week or anything that controversial, I want to get some discussion going on the following: "Should a FIRST-CLASS, TOP-TIER talent choose the Redskins as their next team to play for if that player LOVES football?" And if that player does choose us in 2011, what are the chances it is more about money than about winning?
6. Today, I'll get things started: I believe there are loads of players in the league that prioritize winning and playing at a high level over an extra zero in their paycheck. Granted, the guys who are going to get paid are going to get their money regardless, but time and again there are examples of players who take a little less to play for a coach or an organization that they believe in. On the flip side, we have been the destination of choice for players who will say that they care about being great (Albert Haynesworth) but after a while it becomes clear that what they really cared about was Dan Snyder's money. If we give out a record contract to a player in the next month, I will be hard-pressed to believe that the player in question cares about winning above all else. I know there is a sentiment in the league that we disrespected a guy many players very much respect in Donovan McNabb. I know that Shanahan's standoff with Haynesworth will cause players and agents to think hard about the Washington situation before signing up. It is not Bruce Allen's job to polygraph the players on their intention to do whatever is asked of them, and I am sure he would be ecstatic to land one or more of the premier players available. But it would feel a lot better if we laid another layer or two of bricks in 2011 to create a more solid foundation that we could add expensive pieces to next year.