Previewing the Redskins’ 2014 Free Agent Spending Spree

Patrick McDermott

With an estimated $36 million to spend and no first-round pick, the team will shower money on a number of players next spring. But which ones?

Yesterday, Dan Ciarrocchi took a look ahead at the 2014 offseason with respect to players the Redskins might lose to free agency. It’s a long list that includes such names as Brian Orakpo, Fred Davis, London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Joshua Morgan, Brandon Meriwether, Santana Moss, Reed Doughty, Rob Jackson and Chris Baker.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Redskins will also emerge from two-years of John Mara-imposed cap hell next spring, and Comcast’s Rich Tandler estimates the Redskins will have somewhere in the neighborhood of $36 million to spend — precisely the amount taken away over the past two years.

And since next year will also be our last without a first-round pick in the RG3 deal, it’s pretty much a given the Redskins will go on a fairly substantial shopping spree. But for whom?

At this point the list of potential signees is long and speculative, but since there isn’t anything better to worry about until training camp starts in a couple of weeks, let’s take a look at a few options (allowing for the possibility I'm dealing with an old list and said player has already signed a new contract). Below are a few attractive names along with my purely subjective comments.

Offensive tackles

I'd love to think we’ll have that position locked down by then, but in the event we don’t, here are a few names to consider:

Michael Oher, Baltimore — Would be a decent fit at RT for the Redskins and it’s always a plus when potential free agents can change teams without actually moving.
Ryan Clady, Denver — I’ve heard contradicting stories about how wedded Shanahan is to Clady and whether Clady makes sense in our offense. I haven’t heard anyone say he isn’t a good player, though.
Eugene Monroe, Jacksonville — Started all 16 games at LT for the Jags in 2012 and he’s only 26. A New Jersey native who played college ball at UVA, the Redskins make geographic sense for him. Can he play in a spread-style offense? Would he consider moving over to the left side?
Branden Albert, Kansas City — Franchised by the Chiefs this spring, he’ll either sign before training camp or not at all, most think. At 28, he’s been the Chiefs’ left tackle since 2008. Another UVA alum, he’s attended high school in Glen Burnie, Md. Hmmm.
Jared Veldheer, Oakland — He’s huge (6-8, 321), smart and ridiculously strong. He’s also played a little center, but he’s been the Raiders’ LT since 2011.
Rodger Saffold, St. Louis — Just 26, he’s been the Rams’ starter at left tackle since his rookie season.

Wide Receivers

Some would say the Redskins need help at the position now. But with Josh Morgan and Santana Moss set to be free agents next season, we’ll definitely need reinforcements next season anyway.

Victor Cruz, Giants — He’s rumored to be on the verge of signing a long-term deal with the Giants. But it he doesn’t, there’s nothing like weakening an opponent while strengthening your own team.
Hakeem Nicks, Giants — If Cruz re-signs, Nicks probably won’t. See above.
Eric Decker, Denver — Had a breakout season in 2012 with 85 catches and 1,061 yards. He’s still only 26 and just coming into his own.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia — If he can stay healthy, he’s a multi-faceted deep threat. And you’d be weakening the Eagles.
Golden Tate, Seattle — Only 24, he recorded 45 catches and 688 yards for the Seahawks last year. Maybe he’d benefit by coming to Washington and working with a real quarterback.

Inside Linebackers

If Keenan Robinson and/or Brandon Jenkins develop, the Redskins might have a replacement for London Fletcher. Then again, Perry Riley is also a pending free agent.

Sean Lee, Dallas — Arguably the heart of the Cowboy defense (assuming it has one). Only 24, hed make a lot of sense as a Redskin. And it’d piss off Jerry Jones.

Outside Linebackers

Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo are a great tandem, but Orakpo is a free-agent-to-be,as is Rob Jackson.

Brian Cushing, Houston — Coming off a season-ending knee injury in 2012, he’d have to prove he’s healthy. Cushing wouldn’t come to DC under normal circumstances, but in the unlikely event Orakpo departs, he’d soften the blow considerably.

Corners

With Josh Wilson unlikely to return, the hope is that David Amerson will assume one starting position. But by that time, DeAngelo Hall will be a free agent, too.

Aqib Talib, New England — We wanted him last year but lacked the money. That won’t be a factor next year.
Brandon Browner, Seattle — Still only 28, he was named to his first Pro Bowl last season. At 6-4, 221, he'll morph into a safety soon enough, but in the meantime he and Amerson (along with Phillips and Rambo) could wreak havoc in the Redskins' secondary. Get him, Dan.

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