Mike Shanahan reads this weeks Sixpack. - Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
As the offseason begins in earnest, questions swirl around how the Redskins will use free agency and the draft to defend their division title.
1. I'm not sure if it is because the Caps finally shut a team down convincingly, or because the Wizards are back to being fun to watch every night, but it seems like we are light years removed from the NFL. When Robert Griffin III didn't win a single Grammy last night, the full impact of the dead period we are in right now hit me squarely in the face. How do you have an award show and not honor Griffin? I mean, come on.
2. Even the flux is in flux right now. Just when I think there is almost no wiggle room to our potential draft strategy, I am reminded of how unpredictable the free agent class can be every year. For example, if the 49ers are unable to hold on to Dashon Goldson, the Redskins would almost certainly attempt to position themselves for a shot at him. However unlikely you want to suggest our chances would be of landing Goldson, adding him would blow up my draft road map and open up some pretty interesting possibilities for the team in the second round. Then again, even with Goldson in the fold (and Brandon Meriweather), I would be perfectly happy if the team STILL targeted a safety in the second round.
3. It will be fascinating to watch over the next few months to see if "The RG3 Effect" is real or imagined with regard to free agency. The Redskins have always had the money to attract players that were...uhhhh...most interested in money. Is it possible that at least one or two prospective free agents will choose the Redskins over another suitor because of a desire to play with Griffin? When was the last time we had that transcendent kind of player that had the potential to attract other players--the kind of guy that other elite players in the league would consider taking a few less dollars just to be able to suit up next to him? If you really want to induce a headache, think really hard about that.
4. I don't believe that many athletes in 2013 would give up very much financial security just to play with a specific guy. Offers from multiple teams would all have to be kind of in the same ballpark (a very cozy ballpark) for that consideration to ever really enter the fray. The Redskins will be playing with salary cap space tied behind their back once again, so they are going to have to be selectively aggressive. That said, I would be hard-pressed to think that they can wait certain guys out. Bruce Allen has gotten comfortable over the last few years letting guys come and go on visits with no contract. He has found value well into the summer to fill out the roster, but this year the holes we have and the momentum that we have built dictate that the team make some meaningful moves prior to the draft.
5. It was one thing when we had two rookie quarterbacks and what looked to be a straight-up rebuilding year in front of us. That made it easier to justify trolling for warm bodies at positions of need well into the summer. After all, who would have thought we would be hosting a playoff game? In 2013, we are the defending division champs. We have a quarterback who is capable of leading our offense to wins now. We need to draft at least two guys who can come in right away and contribute. Since free agency kicks off well before the draft, we are somewhat compelled to target at least one or two players in free agency that can shore up starting positions and provide our draft war room with a clear objective. Luckily for us, we have more than just the need at safety. Starting offensive linemen are neither cheap nor plentiful this time of year, but successfully netting one (or two) frees up all kinds of room at the top of the draft in April. Just thinking about this gets me so fired up at John Mara.
6. I am trying to keep the field conditions issue at least somewhat in focus. I continue to be appalled by what I saw at the end of the season. I continue to be mystified at how such a wealthy and profitable sports franchise would allow its athletes to compete on such an abomination. My understanding is that every team has a very clear understanding of costs and issues related to installing and maintaining a variety of field surfaces. There is a right answer and it is likely sitting on somebody's desk at Redskins Park. Now more than ever, action is essential on the part of the Washington Redskins. The health and safety of players they hope to have for years to come is very much hanging in the balance.