Redskins Should Play it SAFE(ty) in Free Agency

Jim Rogash

Since the deeply unfortunate passing of the great Sean Taylor, which still brings a tear to my eye, the Redskins have struggled to find quality play at safety. We have tried the draft(Landry), and have tried free agency(Adam Archuleta, Madieu Williams and Brandon Meriweather), but all have been less than stellar, and have been a big reason why the defense has been a sieve against the pass. The front office invested in two promising rookies last year, but injury to Philip Thomas derailed his season before it started, and sixth round pick Bacarri Rambo didn't live up to his "First Blood" hype(hint: it was all in the name).

The recent re-signing of DeAngelo Hall at corner will bring a few more years of high-quality play to the defense. Second year corner David Amerson is poised to take over a starting spot opposite Hall, and should be a mainstay at that spot for the foreseeable future, but there remains concern about the last level of defense, yet again, moving into 2014.

After the franchise tag was placed on Brian Orakpo yesterday, the Redskins are about 17 million under the salary cap, and this is before any cuts are made(which could possibly add another 10-12 million in cap space). It would benefit this team greatly to invest in a young safety in free agency when the market opens a week from today.

There will be a host of young talent that could help to finally fill the void that we have been up against for year. Some of these player will not be cheap, but it may be an investment worth making to help the team take the next step back into respectability.

Jairus Byrd(27) Free Safety: If the Redskins want to make a splash in free agency, there would be no better way than to add one of the best play-making free safeties in the game today. Byrd is a ballhawk, who would instantly transform a weak unit into a strength. Not only would Bryd be a savior to the secondary, but he could help mentor youngsters Philip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo.

2014 Cap Hit - The Redskins could backload the contract a bit, but I imagine the hit would be around 8 million for 2014.

Malcolm Jenkins(26)  Free Safety: Jenkins does not have the pedigree of Byrd, but he a good young safety with cornerback-like skills, who would be a significant upgrade to our secondary.

2014 Cap Hit - Jenkins should come cheaper than Byrd, but I imagine his 2014 number to be between 5-6 million.

Donte Whitner(28)  Strong Safety: Whitner will be 29 when the season starts, so a four year deal may not be ideal, but he still has plenty left in the tank, and can play either safety position. He's a strong leader on the field, and could be a good mentor for our young defensive backs.

2014 Cap Hit - I don't think Whitner would be offered more than a 2-3 year deal, possibly with a voidable year attached to save some money up front. I guess his number to be around 6-7 million for 2014.

Less Expensive Options:

Chris Clemons(28)  Strong Safety

Major Wright(25)  Strong Safety

T.J. Ward(27)  Strong Safety

Taylor Mays(26)  Free Safety

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