The Redskins will have an estimated $30 million to spend in free agency as of right now. That number is expected to change once the players with expiring contracts, officially become free agents themselves after the Super Bowl. Washington will most likely look to be aggressive in free agency as there are many glaring needs that need to be addressed. Washington needs to upgrade their secondary, particularly at the safety position, they need to add another solid corner back or two, an inside linebacker, a pass rushing defensive end, a number two receiver to start opposite Garcon, potentially a slot receiver as well, and upgrades along the offensive line, particularly the right tackle spot. There are some very high quality free agents that Washington should aggressively pursue.
1.) Jairus Byrd: He is arguably the best potential free agent at the safety position this coming off season. He was voted to the pro bowl despite being plagued by injuries this year. Buffalo would love to maintain Byrd and he is a possible franchise tag candidate. If Byrd does indeed test the market he will likely command top dollar. Washington has the cap space to pursue him and rightfully should. He could easily help solve their problem at safety as he has big play potential and is young as well.
2.) Bernard Pollard: Pollard helped sure up the Raven's defense on their Super Bowl Run and when he left for Tennessee this past off season, he helped lead the Titan's defense which turned out being one of the surprises in the league this year. He would be an upgrade over Merriweather or Rambo and would be an instant starter on the defense. He is 29 and should have a few more good years left in him.
3.) James Ihedigbo: He filled in at safety for the Ravens this season when TJ Ward went down due to injury. Ihedigbo plays the run well which is something the Redskins need to improve on. He is aggressive and physical and isn't afraid to make a tackle. Again, qualities in which the players on the Redskins defense could desperately use. He is 30 and likely would only have about 3 maybe 4 good years left in him and since the Ravens likely won't give him a starting job due to Ward and Elam, Ihedigbo would likely take an opportunity to start for Washington.
1.) Aqib Talib: Washington was so close to signing Talib last off season before he decided to return to New England on a one year deal. Talib has been plagued by injuries this season but when he's been on the field, his play has been solid. He played a great game against Denver helping the Patriots defense shut down Peyton Manning in the second half. Look for Washington to pursue Talib again this off season.
2.) Vontae Davis: Davis had a good year with the Colts and is still only 25. He has potential and is a good cover corner. He does have injury concerns even though he was able to play a full 16 game schedule this season. Davis struggled against the run but would still upgrade a rather weak Redskin secondary.
3.) Alterraun Verner: Verner is a young corner back at 25 who earned a starting job for the Titans out of training camp. He was one of the bigger surprises in the NFL this year as he helped lead the Titans secondary. Tennessee will likely make it a priority to keep him next year as the sky is the limit for him. If Washington is able to lure him away from the Titans, he would make for a very good signing for the Skins.
1.) Brandon Spikes: He is young at 26 and still has potential to be a very good linebacker. He is aggressive and is decent in coverage. He struggles against the run but with the right coaching, things could change. Spikes is worth considering since he has experience in a 3-4 defense and has potential to be better.
2.) Jon Beason: Beason was a good linebacker in Carolina and helped make the Giants a top defense in the league this year. He is a tackling machine and is aggressive against the run. He gave the Redskins problems Beason is 28 and would be a good addition to the Redskins defense to partner alongside another tackling machine in Perry Riley.
3.) Johnathan Vilma: When healthy Vilma is a leader on the field. He would bring a veteran leadership to the Redskins defense and could help Perry Riley grow even more as a player. Vilma is a great defender and is very aggressive. He is 31 however and with his injuries, it does make it seem unlikely Washington signs him but is still someone who they should consider.
1.) Arthur Jones: With their not being much on the market for defensive ends that fit in a 3-4 defense, Jones is one of the best available. He totaled 4 sacks this past season for the Ravens and with the cap space being tight in Baltimore, he will likely test the market. He was rated the 12th best 3-4 defensive end by PFF and would be an upgrade over Stephen Bowen.
2.) Ziggy Hood: He is a young and durable defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh generally has one of the better defenses in the league and Hood is aggressive on the line. He recorded 39 tackles, 3 sacks, and a fumble recovery this past season at the age of 26. His durability would be welcomed in Washington and would still be an upgrade at the defensive end position.
3.) Terrence Cody: He is a big body that could help clog up run lanes for opposing offenses. Signing him to be their nose tackle would allow Cofield to slide over to defensive end which he could very well do with his strength and quickness. A move like this is highly unlikely but is still a possibility.
1.) Zach Strief: At the age of 30 and a history of injuries, a signing like this looks unappealing. However when healthy, Strief is a very solid right tackle. He is rated 7th best overall by PFF and first at right tackle. Signing Strief would be taking a risk but when your right tackle spot is owned by Tyler Polumbus, that risk is definitely worth taking.
2.) Michael Oher: He is 27 and the star of the blind side. Oher by no means had a great year this past season but is still an upgrade over Polumbus. He has potential to be better and is someone Washington should at least consider this off season.
3.) Austin Howard: He is 26 and still needs some time to grow but could provide depth to the offensive line and push Polumbus for a starting job. He measures at 6-7 and 333 pounds so he would provide more beef to a rather small offensive line. If he can improve his run blocking, Howard would make for a good signing.
Other Offensive Line Help:
1.) Jon Asamoah: He was the starting right guard for the Kansas City Chiefs who had a very good rushing attack this season and at age 25 is just now starting to hit his prime. He is rated as a top 20 guard and would be a significant upgrade over Chris Chester. He is definitely someone Washington should consider.
2.) Geoff Schwartz: He was the starting left guard for the Kansas City Chiefs and had a terrific year this season. He is still only 27 and would be an upgrade over Lichtensteiger. He is rated the 8th best guard and is worthy of attention. If Washington can pry one of these two guards away from Kansas City, it would be a major success.
3.) Alex Mack: He was the starting center of the Cleveland Browns and at 28, will be one of the most sought after offensive lineman this off season. He is regarded as one of the best centers in the NFL and likely won't come cheap. He will be worth the money though as any chance to upgrade Washington's bad offensive line should be taken.
1.) Eric Decker: He is a big receiver at 6-3 and has put up number 1 receiver type numbers with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. He will likely ask for number 1 receiver type money and is someone who Washington should really consider. He has big play potential and isn't afraid to be physical. He would give Griffin another weapon with a big frame. However I do not see Decker leaving Denver but if for some reason he does, he is someone to consider.
2.) Jeremy Maclin: At 25, Maclin still has the potential to be one of the best receivers in the league. However he is coming off a torn ACL. Maclin should definitely be considered by Washington because when healthy, he is a great receiver and would give RG3 a reliable weapon with big play potential. Washington could potentially use his injury as a reason to not overpay for him but still good a high quality receiver in return.
3.) Hakeem Nicks: Like Maclin, he is 25 but has a long history of injuries. Nicks is a big receiver who isn't afraid to go up and catch a pass but he can't seem to stay on the field. If the price is right, Washington could potentially take the gamble on Nicks. He would be a high risk high reward kind of guy if he can stay healthy as he has the skill set to be a number 1 receiver.
4.) Dexter McCluster: He isn't one of the flashier names when it comes to receivers but he is a speedy dual threat. He can come out of the backfield like a running back and can also go out and catch a pass. Where he is most dangerous is as a returner. McCluster was one of the best return men in the league this season and Washington desperately needs help on their special teams. Washington should really consider bringing him in to help provide depth at the receiver position, but more importantly to help improve the poor special teams unit.
My Top 5 Players Washington should sign:
1.) Jairus Byrd
2.) Aqib Talib
3.) Jeremy Maclin
4.) Zach Strief
5.) Jon Asamoah
Who do you think Washington should sign in free agency?