Don't let the title fool you. I have no desire to be the off-season champions anymore. But, we do have money, and we do have many needs, and many of those needs will have to be addressed in free agency if we want to be competitive in 2014 and beyond. This is the last year our draft will be impacted by the Robert Griffin III trade. Next off-season we will have our full roster of draft picks to add to the re-building process. But this season, we are not as fortunate, so a wise approach to free agency will be instrumental.
This post will serve as a primer to the start of free agency. I expect we will have about $27-28 million to work with before any cuts are made. I think we all agree, that some players will be cut. For the purpose of this discussion, I will add some potential cuts(ones that seem pretty obvious), and will also factor in the team keeping Brian Orakpo, either via the franchise tag or a long-term deal.
Adam Carriker - Carriker was on injured reserve for the 2013 season. When fully healthy, he brings a strong inside presence to our defense, both as a run stuffer and a pocket collapser. The problem is his health, coupled with his salary and age, just don't make him a part of the future here in DC.
Cap Savings - $3 million
Stephen Bowen - Bowen is another Redskin who has been bitten by the injury bug over the last two seasons. Although he played through two torn up knees, it was obvious to see that he was not a force up front anymore and he underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee this off-season. Just like Carriker, age, injury and salary make him a likely cut.
Cap Savings - $2 million
Will Montgomery - Montgomery has been downright awful over the last two years. His play was never great, but it is now on a steady decline. Age is not on his side either.
Cap Savings - $1.925 million
Chris Chester - In 2012, Chester played at a very high level. In 2013, his play dropped to average. With the large salary cap number that he carries, he's likely seen his last days as a Redskin.
Cap Savings - $2.7 million
Kory Lichtensteiger - Kory was given a contract extension last year, but he should have been paying the Redskins to let him be a part of this team instead. His play was horrible, and I don't think he has a future in the league on a team that Mike Shanahan doesn't coach.
Cap Savings - $1.1 million
Tyler Polumbus - Polumbus was a human turnstile at right tackle last season for the Redskins. Not much more can be said here.
Cap Savings - $2.5 million
Logan Paulsen - Paulsen is not the typical Jay Gruden tight end. Although we only have the often injured Jordan Reed, and Niles Paul behind him, his cap hit in an offense that really doesn't fit him, may be enough to push him out.
Cap Savings - $1.6 million
Now, I don't expect every one of the above players to be cut, but I wouldn't be a surprised to see five from this list released. I'm going to figure an additional $10 million will come from cuts, bringing our total available spend in free agency to be around $38 million.
What can $38 million buy you these days?
First, we must account for the new contracts of DeAngelo Hall and Chris Baker. I couldn't find exact numbers for both players just yet, but I estimated Hall's 2014 cap hit to be close to $2.5 million, and imagine Baker's could sit around the $1.5 million range. So, I'll go a bit on the high side, and say both players combined count $5 million against our $38 million spend.
Now, I'm going to figure we re-sign, or franchise Brian Orakpo. I'm figuring $10 million for this move.
We now have $23 million to spend on players in free agency.
What can $23 million buy you on the open market?
Perry Riley(25) - $4-5 million
Arthur Moats(25) - $3-4 million
Pat Angerer(27) - $3-4 million
Joe Mays(28) - $3-4 million
D'Qwell Jackson(30) - $3-4 million
Michael Oher(27) - $5-6 million
Rodger Saffold(25) - $4-5 million
Anthony Collins(28) - $4-5 million
Geoff Schwartz(27) - $3-4 million
Marshall Newhouse(25) - $2-3 million
Alex Mack(28) - $6-7 million
Ted Larsen(26) - $3-4 million
J.D. Walton(26) - $2-3 million
Phil Costa(26) - $2-3 million
Jon Asamoah(25) - $3-4 million
Shawn Lauvao(26) - $2-3 million
Zane Beadles(27) - $2-3 million
Vladimir Ducasse(26) - $2-3 million
Linval Joseph(25) - $3-4 million
Cam Thomas(27) - $3-4 million
Terrence Cody(25) - $2-3 million
Red Bryant(29) - $2-3 million
Donte Whitner(28) - $5-6 million
Malcolm Jenkins(26) - $4-5 million
Major Wright(25) - $3-4 million
T.J. Ward(27) - $3-4 million
Nate Allen(26) - $2-3 million
Taylor Mays(26) - $2-3 million
So, you play GM. What needs will you fill in free agency, and which players will you bring in to fill those needs?