We are into the 4th day of free agency and the Redskins have been quite busy. They have cut or traded most of the dead weight off the roster, signed four major free agents from outside the organization, re-signed Santana Moss, and made a couple additional depth moves.
While the Redskins have been extremely active, they still aren't close to done, as it is reported that they have over $20 million left to spend (it is unclear exactly how much is left, but a good estimate is about $22 million). The Redskins could also free up a few extra million if they make a couple cuts (Mike Williams, Artis Hicks, Anthony Bryant etc.). With that much money left the Redskins should still be very active in free agency and fill more of their needs.
Here is a look at some players and positions that the Redskins should target:
Rex Grossman- Grossman is the safe choice as he knows the system and has been at least okay in the past. He offers little upside, but appears to be a favorite of the coaching staff.
Caleb Hanie- Hanie is my personal choice as he is young, with a good bit of upside. Hanie has some potential to be a starter in the NFL and could develop into a good QB. He won't cost anything but money for the Redskins to obtain and he could be a great bridge, if not the answer himself to the Redskins QB of the future question.
Fullback: Mike Sellers is no longer a good fullback and can be upgraded in this class. Considering how important the FB position is in the offense (pretty high, will participate in between 35-45% of offensive snaps).
Vonta Leach: Leach will likely be the most expensive FB on the market, but he does have an advantage of knowing Kyle Shanahan from their Texan days. He isn't as versatile as Kuhn, but he is probably the best lead blocker on the market.
Offensive Tackle: If the season started today Artis Hicks, Xavier Fulton and Selvish Capers would be battling it out for the starting RT gig (and i guess right now they technically are battling it out). That is simply unacceptable. The good news is that the market has been favorable for RT's as Willie Colon and Tyson Clabo signed deals that averaged between $5-6 million.
Jamaal Brown-Most people are in his camp, but be careful what you wish for. He still might be among the priciest OT's available. He is coming off his worst season as a pro, is now over 30, and has had a long history of nagging and serious injuries.
Jared Gaither- Gaither will probably look to get paid as well, but he very well could be worth it. Prior to missing all of last season Gaither started 32 out of a possible 37 games for the Ravens in 2008 and 2009 combined (including the playoffs). While a back injury forced him out last season, he is just 25 years old so if recovered his future is bright. Gaither was a top ten LT before last season, and would make a fantastic addition on the Redskins line if the price is right.
Ryan Harris- Harris was originally drafted by Mike Shanahan in 2007, and started every game for him in 2008. Harris has been injured part of each of the last two seasons, but when healthy projects as a quality RT. At 26 years old he should still have his best football ahead of him, and it is worth noting that his best season as a pro was under Shanahan's scheme in 2008.
Interior O-line: The Redskins have added G Chris Chester already, but they could use another guard or center as they look to reshape their line for the future.
C Samson Satele- Satele is young (will be 27 later this year), knows the zone blocking scheme, and has some solid upside. He won't cost a lot and would be a solid addition to the line.
G Evan Mathis- Mathis is turning 30 this year and has been oft injured, but the guard market is drying up fast. When healthy Mathis has shown himself to be a fairly dominate lineman. The problem is Mathis hasn't be healthy much of late. His injury history and journeyman status should keep his contract low. He'd be a good buy low candidate for the Skins.
DE: The Redskins signed Bowen and Cofield could get some snaps there if someone else shows anything at NT, but right now the position is highly reliant on Bowen and Adam Carriker with Jarvis Jenkins and Vonnie Holliday as the backups. That might be an improvement from last year, but the Redskins could still invest in the position.
Jamal Anderson- I know many consider Anderson a major draft bust, and as a 4-3 end he probably is. But Anderson is now up to 290 lbs, and has proven himself to be a very good run stopper these past two seasons, and looks to be a prime candidate to make the transition to 3-4 DE. He could be a great cheap, young (25), depth pick-up.
NT: While Cofield is expected to handle the NT duties, the Redskins could look to add another NT so Cofield can play the majority of his snaps at DE or inside on 4 man sets.
Aubrayo Franklin: Franklin is by far the best NT on the market, but there hasn't been a lot of activity for him. The Redskins could very well afford him as well, as the RT, LG and QB acquisitions on offense, as it appears that he won't get as much as was originally anticipated. Adding Franklin could be a steal if the price is right.
ILB: With Rocky McIntosh not a fit and London Fletcher nearing the end of his career adding a young talented ILB would be a smart move for the Redskins.
Stephen Tulloch- Tulloch entered free agency as one of the better defensive targets, but he can't seem to find a home. He's just 26 years old and has been pretty healthy. Tulloch is a strong run defender and pretty good in pass coverage as well. He has only ever played in the 4-3, but given his age and skill set he could be worth a look. With so many teams going in different directions the Redskins could get Tulloch at a good rate in the $5 million a year range.
CB: While the Redskins have already landed Josh Wilson they could use another quality CB, so they don't have to rely too much on unproven players.
Richard Marshall- Marshall is a good buy low candidate, as he is just 26, and prior to last year was considered a pretty good corner. While last season was disastrous for Marshall, he'd be a good signing at a reduced rate, and a potential upgrade over Phillip Buchanon.
Analysis: While I wanted to present all these options I know the Redskins can't afford everyone and my guess is it would be an either or decision between say Franklin and Tulloch. Overall though they do have the money to address most of these needs, and if they walk away with a QB, FB, 2 OL, DL and CB I think that will be successful. What do you guys think?
Steve Shoup has been a Redskins fan his entire life and dreams of the day they get back to the glory days of his youth. In addition to his regular piece on Hogs Haven, you can find his daily writings at Fanspeak.com.