With the offseason soon to begin, Washington has a desperate need at the safety position. Reed Doughty and Brandon Merriweather are set to become free agents, Baccari Rambo is still a work in progress, Phillip Thomas has yet to play in a game, Jose Gumbs is young and is better suited for special teams along with Trenton Robinson. That said, Washington definitely needs one starter at safety, maybe even two pending if Merriweather comes back or if Thomas can step up as a starter. Here is a look at potential free agents that Washington may consider:
1. Jairus Byrd: Perhaps the most coveted free agent safety this offseason, Byrd is only 27 years old and still has many years left to play. Byrd is a three time pro bowler and all pro, led the league in interceptions in 2009, and since entering the league in 2009, has recorded 22 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, and 2 touchdowns. Byrd has a knack for making plays and always seems to be around the ball which is something Washington's secondary is in desperate need of. He would help solidify Washington's safety spot which has been unstable since the death of Sean Taylor. Byrd is likely to command top dollar and has had a run in with injuries, but if Washington is going to break the bank on one free agent that isn't their own, Byrd should be the one.
2. TJ Ward: Another young safety hitting the prime of his career, Ward is only 27 and is one of the top safeties available in free agency. He made it to the pro bowl this past season and will likely look to collect a good chunk of change, but is still someone Washington should consider. Ward is a tackling machine and isn't afraid to stick his head into traffic. Ward's career interception numbers are a little low but is consistent in his play. As much as Washington loves to have one safety play in the box, Ward could be that guy as he is a sure tackler.
3. Donte Whitner: Whitner is 28 years old and is one of the more aggressive safeties in the free agency class. Wanting to change his last name to Hitner, Donte would provide the physical and hard hitting safety that Washington could use. Whitner was a pro bowler in 2012 and has recorded 10 career interceptions along with 8 forced fumbles since entering the league. Whitner makes his presence felt as a tackling machine. Definitely an upgrade over all the missed tackles from Baccari Rambo.
4. Chris Clemons: Probable one of the cheaper options at safety, Clemons is 28 years old and has good size at 6'1 and 214 pounds. While Clemons' numbers aren't the flashiest, he is still an upgrade over the current safeties on the roster. Clemons is likely to be a last resort if Washington strikes out on one of the bigger name safeties, but given Washington's many needs and contracts coming up in the next few years, Clemons remains a possibility for Washington.
5. Bernard Pollard: At 29, Pollard would likely only be around for a few years. However, Pollard brings good size and isn't afraid to make contact. Pollard is aggressive, can force fumbles, and make receivers think twice about going across the middle. He would surely bring a physical presence to Washington and could potentially come a little cheaper than other safeties.
6. Antoine Bethea: Bethea is also 29 years old but could provide a couple valuable years for the Redskins. Bethea is a two time pro bowler recording 14 career interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, and 806 tackles in 8 years in the league. Bethea would be a cheaper option for Washington but would still likely compete with the Colts in trying to sign him.
7. Malcolm Jenkins: At 26, Jenkins is one of the younger options at safety for Washington. A first round pick for the Saints and second team all pro in 2010, Jenkins hasn't quite lived up to his hype. However, Jenkins is only beginning to enter his prime years and perhaps bringing him into Washington would help him grow as a player. Jenkins is physical and isn't afraid to attack. He will also likely be cheaper which is in favor for Washington.
8. Taylor Mays: A very intriguing possibility for Washington, Mays has great size at 6'3 and weighs 220 pounds. He is also familiar with Jay Gruden as Mays has spent a couple seasons as a Bengal. Mays is 26 years old and hasn't really reached his potential. Coming out of college, Mays was compared to Sean Taylor for his hitting abilities. Mays hasnt really gotten the chance to start for teams so perhaps coming to Washington with the chance to start would spark his play not to mention Mays would come cheap.
Who do you think comes to Washington?