It is clear based off the way the Washington Redskins approached this offseason that they were far less concerned about the defensive line than many casual observers of the team, such as myself. And perhaps they're right in that, an argument presented best by Mark Steven. Mark (Om at Extreme Skins) and I agree and disagree on a number of things, and this happens to be one of the latter. I won't repeat my concern with the defensive line for the 50th time as my trepidation is well documented on this page elsewhere. Rather the Redskins have made their bed and I will happily eat crow should they sleep soundly in it with a successful 2007 defensive performance. That outcome would surprise and thrill me.
But that does not mean the team remains helpless to address the line. There is plenty of time to sign quality defensive linemen to bolster the current personnel heading into 2007. The majority of available players won't do much, as those players are available for good reasons (they've been cut, they simply are not very good, off-field issues, so on and so forth). And the problem with talents who may significantly improve our line is that they carry the attendant costs that a quality player demands. As Hog Heaven points out (emphasis mine):
To acquire a player such as a Cory Redding, a Justin Smith, or an Aaron Schobel, Washington must not only compensate the player handsomely, but also must pay a stiff premium to the team that owns their rights.
Jason La Canfora throws out some names:
I wouldn't be stunned at all if the Skins eventually parted with a draft pick or two to get one of them. And I wouldn't blame them, either. Not one bit. Schobel in particular seems like a nobrainer. I hear word is around the league that he is getting upset over the lack of progress on a new contract, and I know he loved played for Gregg Williams in Buffalo. He has been a beast in this system, is young enough, is a great team guy and a leader for the Bills.
My own take coincides with newcomer Greg Trippiedi's:
Furthermore, I would include our seeming insouciance for draft picks as a primary cause of our 2006 defensive woes reflected in our inability to meaningfully address key injuries defensively. Other people's scrubs (like Kenny Wright and Mike Rumph) aren't necessarily any worse than our own drafted scrubs, but at least the latter costs less and will have the benefit of knowing the system. We witnessed with Kedric Golston that this coaching staff is at least capable of semi-striking gold in the late rounds, though you can only do so with large quantities of picks. I wonder if the meager 4 selections we had in 2004 attenuated our overall defense, exposed depressingly years later.
Anyways, whatever the culprit for our 2006 defense, I ask reader(s) what they think. If a quality defensive linemen presented himself this offseason for substantial costs that included 2008 draft picks, would you bite? Should the Redskins? Broader questions: Is the defense fixed?