Now I hope this won't turn into another trade-up debate post, though it is written to show a clearer picture of some of the fallout of moving up. While it is easy to say that Griffin from a cap stand point is 'cheaper' than say a free agent QB, we can't forget the financial impact of those additional draft picks over the next two years vs the free agents that will have to be signed to replace them. That is an additional 4-5 starters or significant contributors that will now need to be filled via free agency. While that is doable given our cap situation, there is downside as the Redskins will be forced to spread out their cap dollars among more free agents, meaning that fewer impact free agents can be brought in. As I said in the beginning though, hopefully we can debate the merits of particular players and not whether or not we should make the trade up. There will be plenty of other debates in the coming weeks about the potential move up for Griffin, and hopefully both sides can use this post as a reference
Now for the purpose for this I'm going to project that it costs the Redskins their 1st, 2nd, 3rd picks this year and their 1st and 3rd next year. I realize that is expensive, and the pro trade up crowd will look to disagree, but there is a reason every national pundit, analyst, or reporter is talking about the Rams 'sitting on a gold mine', and that is because they are. This deal isn't going to follow the antiquated trade value chart, and the price isn't going to drop considerably because every other QB needy team 'decides' to go in a different direction. Finally, if by some miracle the price did drop, it would only be because the Rams overplayed their hand and it went down to the wire on draft day, meaning that free agency will have already come and gone.
So this means the Redskins would only have a 2nd rounder and three 4th rounders over the next two years (yes they have 5th-7th round picks, but those are far less likely to make the roster, much less make an impact, anything you get out of those rounds is gravy). Now for the purpose of this, I'm going to assume that London Fletcher and Fred Davis re-sign (as well as Tim Hightower and Kory Lichtensteiger), and the Redskins make quick splashes with WR Marques Colston and LG Ben Grubbs. I'm also going to assume that DeAngelo Hall is cut to free up some additional money. Now some of these signings could be options regardless, of trading up, now they just have a greater importance.
After the break check out who will be wearing Burgundy and Gold:
QB: The Redskins need to have 3 QB's on the roster, and with fewer draft picks, I doubt the Redskins can afford using a later one on a developmental QB. As much as fans hate him, Grossman makes sense here, given his familiarity with the offense and personnel. He also might be asked to hold the position down, while Griffin learns and develops (that can be another debate as well). In addition to Grossman, I'd bring in either Brady Quinn or Drew Stanton as a younger guy, who could be a solid back-up.
RB: Even with bringing Hightower back the Redskins should add a 4th piece to the puzzle. While they might take a late round flyer on a player, they could also look at someone with more experience. Steve Slaton would be a cheap option that I'd look at. He's familiar with the system, in fact rushing for over 1,000 yards under Kyle Shanahan in Houston. He's also more of a speed back, giving them some variation to what they already have on the roster.
WR: Even after bringing in Colston, the Redskins need to address the future of this position. While ideally they would have used a high draft pick on this area, they are probably now forced to use a 4th rounder to fill their need.
TE: While ideally Davis and Cooley will be the top two TE's, Washington needs to find a third guy. One who can hopefully be a blocking specialist. My guess is this could be another late round target, as I don't think they have the resources to bring in that specialist off the market.
OT: With a lack of so many premium picks the Redskins will be forced to find their RT via free agency. Given the need to spread out their money, the Redskins will need to focus on the 2nd tier group. Luckily Anthony Collins is a very promising option among this group. The Redskins could also look to bring in a veteran on a short term deal for depth. While there aren't any great options right now, from the sounds of it there are some names who might get released. They might not be 16 game starters, but could offer nice depth.
Interior Line: Ideally even with re-signing Will Montgomery and Kory Lichtensteiger, the Redskins would have added a developmental G/C late in the draft, or perhaps they would have still targeted a bigger name center (Chris Myers) and use Montgomery as more of a depth player. Now that is likely to be pushed off till at least 2013 if not longer.
Defensive Line: While I would probably look to move on from Adam Carriker regardless, I would have preferred the Redskins spend some money on his replacement to keep that defensive line strong. Now though they probably should spread their money out and sign a pair of players. One would be Aubrayo Franklin. Franklin was one of the top NT's in the league in 2009 and 2010, but he went to a 4-3 team last year that really didn't play to his strengths. He was still an effective run defender, but they asked him to rush the passer more than he did in San Francisco. He's probably looking for a short term, fairly inexpensive deal with a 3-4 team that will primarily use him to stop the run and occupy blockers. The other guy I'd bring in would be former Philadelphia Eagle DT Trevor Laws. Laws has been a solid contributing DT for the Eagles, but he didn't fit their new wide 9 system as well. He's a little short for the 3-4, but he plays with good leverage and is quick off the snap. He's not a good starting option, but he's a pretty solid rotational option (especially one with a low price tag).
LB: Outside linebacker is pretty well set, but the Redskins will need to bring in at least one if not two ILB's. One of which should come via free agency. While any thought of landing a top guy and sticking him next to Fletcher is out, there are some decent second tier guys. MLB Joe Mays from the Broncos should be a nice decent option. He's not great in coverage, but he's very solid against the run, he's young and he shouldn't be expensive.
CB: With cutting Hall, the Redskins should look to bring in three CB's to not only add a better starter, but also some quality depth. Third and fourth corners are pretty important in today's NFL with so many teams going to 3 and 4 WR sets. Right now the Redskins don't have viable options there and that needs to be fixed. Hopefully they can use their 4th rounder to fill one of the back-up roles. The top guy I'd go after is Terrell Thomas from the New York Giants. He's coming off an ACL injury (which could keep his price down), but when he's healthy he's a very good CB. He's good against the run and in coverage, and he's a taller CB to help cover bigger receivers. The 2nd corner I'd look to bring in is Chris Carr. Carr was just released from the Ravens, after having his best year in 2010. He seemed to fall into the dog house in Baltimore this past year, but he could be a nice low risk, moderate reward type of signing.
S: I think it is unlikely that Landry is back next year regardless, but now the Redskins will have to find his replacement via free agency. The guy I would look to target would be Bears safety Craig Steltz. While Steltz doesn't profile as a top level starter, he should at least be above average. He got the chance to start 5 games this past year for the Bears and he was pretty solid for them. He doesn't stand out in any one area, and is above average across the board. He should at least be able to start for the Redskins until they can allocate more resources to the position in a couple of years.
So there you have it. What's your take on my bargain shopping for the Skins? Which signings did you like and what other names might you be looking at?
Steve Shoup will be covering Free Agency and the NFL Draft for his own site Fanspeak.com, but will provide write-ups on players for the Redskins here on Hogs Haven as well. Check out his NFL Draft Page for more details and updates throughout the draft season! HTTR!