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Nate Clements watch

Per Sports Illustrated, Nate Clements has every intention of hitting the free market. This isn't ground-breakingly new, but deserves additional commentary.

I predicted, per an article at Nate Clements' website, that he's going to fetch a minimum of a 20M signing bonus or at least ask for as much. That would likely make him the highest paid CB in history. I think the SI article tentatively confirms this:

Clements' asking price is already high. The one-time Pro Bowl selection and six-year veteran has previously said that he wants to be the top-paid player at his position. Champ Bailey set the standard when he signed a seven-year, $63 million contract with Denver in 2004 that included an $18 million bonus.
I know that many fans have become enamored of Clements or else Asante Samuels, but both are likely to fetch a hefty sum.

Rather than making free agency decisions in an isolated bubble -- where price doesn't matter, for instance -- I think now is a perfect opportunity for the Redskins to excercise restraint in spending and to coordinate the decision to acquire a player with how much that person is reasonably worth. This holds especially true since the Redskins have other options available to them then signing (without regard to the later impact on this franchise's finances) either of these two persons.

  1. Trade down and draft a CB. I say trade down because any CB at #6 is a stretch and there is no point wasting that pick when we could get an instant impact corner later in the round, as well as an additional day one pick. Leon Hall, Marcus McCauley, Darrelle Revis come to mind. Feel free to name additional corners own below. This plan is contingent on Shawn Springs remaining healthy, a gamble that is likely to sting us for at least 2-3 games next season. I accept that.
  2. Sign a FA corner but not one of the two guys who will fetch huge sums of space that we cannot afford short-term or long-term. Consider that as recently as 2005, this was a Top 10 Defense (I know strange, right??) with virtually the same cornerbacks we have now in addition to Walt Harris. We can improve either our #3/nickelback (Kenny Wright) or perhaps even our #2 (Carlos Rogers) without going after either Samuels or Clements. As with 1., this decision is contingent on Shawn Springs remaining relatively healthy -- an admitted gamble.
Keep in mind that both the Patriots and the Bills are more intimately familiar with their cornerbacks than we are, both have more salary cap space to give up, and both seem willing to let these players hit the open market. We should respect or at least recognize their position, and question what they know about the Market and these players that we might not.

Finally, it would be refreshing, for this fan alone perhaps, to see the team make incremental and tentative steps towards rebuilding -- perhaps by attempting to coach up a cheaper player -- as opposed to the headling-making money hemorrhaging that makes us such a famous offseason team year in and year out. That would signal a front office philosophy change that I would welcome from the grandiose, false-expectation, grandiose free agency moves that are followed by the almost inevitable fall from grace some months later. I know that frugal spending and taking one's medicine for a year doesn't instill fans with much immediate optimism, but I think it's demonstrably obvious that whatever strategy we've been employing for so many years simply hasn't worked.