Since Free Agency opened, it has occurred to me that there is still a devil among us. Deep down, in the base of every Redskins fan, still lies a little Cerrato. Symptoms of this include: wanting every big name free agent, getting upset when we don't sign everyone who visits Redskins Park, and getting frustrated when a player who has "interest" from the Redskins signs somewhere else. Oddly enough, for the past two years, John Mara has actually helped minimize the Cerrato-symptoms but it's 2014 now and with no cap penalty left, the devil is showing his face again.
One by one, as players signed around the league, each was looked at as failure by the Redskins to "close the deal." Even Redskins beat writers were calling signings "a swing-and-a-miss." Ignoring logic, there was a lot of discontent by Redskins fans towards this new front office and many questioned out loud if they ACTUALLY knew what they were doing in Ashburn. I assure you, whether you can see it yet or not, they're doing what is best for the organization.
Since the hiring of Jay Gruden, this new front office has formulated a plan. Not just one plan but many plans. The Redskins have spent the last three months planning a course of action this off-season along with tons of contingency plans. Starting with Free Agency, it's never a straight road. There are twists, turns, forks, and roundabouts and the Redskins have been planning what to do at each one. The team opens free agency with targets in mind but just because they want X player does not mean they should do whatever it takes to sign X player.
Redskins definitely targeted the safety position in free agency but Jairus Byrd, Malcolm Jenkins and Mike Mitchell (reportedly the Redskins main targets) all signed with different teams. Byrd received a HUGE contract, Malcolm Jenkins received more money than the Redskins valued him at, and Mike Mitchell was reportedly advised to choose the Steelers over the Redskins. When you haven't been a stable organization in awhile, those things will happen. I applaud the Redskins for setting value on each player and not going above or beyond it (same reason Redskins and Ryan Clark remain in a holding pattern. No offense, I loved Clark when he was here before, but I don't want to be the team paying to keep him out of retirement). With enough money, any of those players could be on the Redskins right now (and Cerrato would have made that happen), but they aren't, and that's because this front office stuck true to their values. With the money they saved from those "misses," the Redskins moved to their second course of action by addressing the pass rush (which coincidentally, helps out the secondary).
Speaking of secondary, didn't we leave the draft with Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas last year? There is a reason guys like Chris Clemons, Major Wright, and Thomas DeCoud are still on the market and haven't received panic calls from the Redskins. It's the same reason they didn't panic and reach for the money when Malcolm Jenkins and Mike Mitchell were "getting away." They like the guys they drafted last year and haven't lost hope in them. . . .and they shouldn't. The Redskins aren't done adding safeties, but they aren't going to overspend on positions they envision one of these guys, maybe both hopefully/eventually claiming. You can't say after one year that either of these guys can't cut it. It's how they respond to their adversities this year and how they continue to take teaching that will make or break them. The term "draft and develop" has been erased from the Redskins dictionary for quite some time now but let's not lose focus on what the good teams do around the league.
There are over 6 billion people on this planet but only 32 individuals get to run NFL teams. The choices they make that we put under a microscope and criticize, ultimately determine whether or not they have a job tomorrow. It's easy for us to make the calls with no pressure, risks or sacrifices but the people we have in charge are professionals who have to make real-time decisions with real-life consequences. So let's put the panic button back in the drawer, wash ourselves once more of this Cerrato stench and understand that the 2014 Washington Redskins are in good hands.