It's time for the Washington Redskins to move on. There are so many things that have been haunting this franchise for decades. A once proud fan base has had to endure embarrassing seasons of mockery, dysfunction and losses. The front office is to blame. Coaches are to blame. But, when you look to the root of the problem, it's mostly about the players.
Bad contracts can hurt a team in many ways. Paying a player a large chunk of money, and getting very little in return, can not only hurt the team's wallet, but also the moral of others in the locker room and the support of the fan base who expects much more from a teams highly paid "stars".
Below is a list of eight key players on this team who should not be Redskins after the season ends:
Pierre Garçon($9.7 million) - Almost 10 million/year for what! Garçon has come up with some clutch catches this season, but he's also had some inexcusable drops. He stands on pace to catch 80 balls, but currently figures to be under 900 yards receiving. Last season he didn't even break 800 receiving yards, and his three touchdowns were in the bottom percent of the league for receivers with over 100 targets. What exactly are we paying him to do?
DeSean Jackson($9.25 million) - The soon-to-be 29 year old receiver does not come close productivity wise to matching the hefty salary the Redskins are paying him. Say what you want about his speed, but he's a one-dimensional receiver who lacks the size to move the chains and be a threat in the redzone. Not showing up for voluntary workouts, then blowing a hamstring in the first game of the regular season should be indication to the staff that it's time to move on.
Andre Roberts($3.75 million) - Roberts has been passed on the depth chart by rookie Jamison Crowder. As it currently stands, he's probably the last receiving option when he's on the field, being behind even our third down back Matt Jones/Chris Thompson. Andre has shown almost no special teams value to boot.
Kory Lichtensteiger($4 million) - Lichtensteiger is an undersized interior linemen who doesn't fit with new GM Scot McClughan's philosophy(big, strong and nasty). He'll be 31 this offseason, and with a little over 4 million in salary vs a $1.1 million dead cap hit, he's sure to become a cap casualty. Look for Spencer Long to take his place at center next season, while second year guard Arie Kouandjio fights for a spot at left guard.
Jason Hatcher($5.2 million) - I can't remember the last time I've heard Hatcher's name called for a big play in a game. The front office must be THRILLED with his 12 total tackles and one sack over the first eight games!
DeAngelo Hall($4.8 million) - I love the passion that Hall plays with, but the age and injury concerns have to be weighing heavily on Scot McCloughan's mind. I bet McLovin can find something better to do with $4.8 million.
Perry Riley($4 million) - Riley is a good downhill linebacker, but let's face it, he's a liability in coverage, and every team that faces us knows that. We need a more complete linebacker for $4 million/year.
Dashon Goldson($4 million) - I know the options at safety were limited for this team, and injuries to potential playmakers in the secondary make the position look much worse, but it's time to move on from the "aging veteran" that the Redskins always go for, in favor of a younger, cheaper playmaker on the back end. Goldson is far from the problem on this defense, but he's also no where near the solution.
Obviously, losing two starting receivers, and an over-paid reserve will leave a big void to fill, but saving a total of $14 million would allow the team to become an active player in the free agent market when it opens in March. With the dead cap hit that Jackson would cost in 2016($6.25 million) vs his $9.25 million cap hit, it may be better just keeping him until 2017, when his dead money drops to just $1.25 million, but either way, the Redskins receiving corps needs to get bigger, faster, younger and cheaper.
Some potential free agent targets that the Redskins could look at this offseason include:
2016 draft targets:
-Laquon Treadwell(Jr) OleMiss: 6'2" 210 lbs
-Mike Williams(Jr) Clemson: 6'4" 220 lbs
-Michael Thomas(Jr) Ohio St: 6'3" 210 lbs
-Tyler Boyd(Jr) Pitt: 6'2" 200 lbs
-Travin Dural(Jr) LSU: 6'2" 203 lbs
-Josh Doctson(Sr) TCU: 6'3" 195 lbs
-Rashard Higgins(Jr) Colo St: 6'2" 190 lbs
On defense, the Redskins have to find better pieces to fit with their scheme along the defensive front. Hatcher no longer has the "it" factor, and his replacement should come via the draft. Some top defensive tackle/ends could be available in the first two rounds, and the list includes the following:
-Robert Nkemdiche(Jr) OleMiss: DT/DE
-Eddie Vanderdose(Jr) UCLA: DT/DE
-DeForest Buckner(Jr) Oregon: DT/DE
-A'Shawn Robinson(Jr) Alabama : DT/DE
-Austin Johnson(Jr) PSU: DT
-Chris Jones(Jr) Miss St: DT/DE
-Shawn Oakman(Sr) Baylor : DE
At linebacker, the Redskins lack a true playmaker to pair opposite Keenan Robinson. Perry Riley's contract and his two-down potential may have played themselves out of DC. I'd really like to see the team use a mid-round selection on a young inside presence, and the following players could make some sense in the 2016 NFL Draft:
-Kendell Beckwith(Jr) LSU: 6'2" 250 lbs
-Scooby Wright(Jr) Arizona: 6'1" 245 lbs
-Cass McKinzy(Jr) Auburn: 6'2" 253 lbs
-Blake Martinez(Sr) Stanford: 6'2" 245 lbs
-Jared Norris(Sr) Utah: 6'1" 240 lbs
-Josh Forest(Sr) Kentucky: 6'3" 255 lbs
The 2016 NFL Draft is looking to have some very good prospects in the secondary. The Redskins could use both CB and S, and there are even a few prospects who can project to both positions at the next level:
-Jalen Ramsey(Jr) FSU: CB/FS 6'1" 205 lbs
-Vernon Hargraves(Jr) Florida: CB 5'11" 200 lbs
-Tre'Davious White(Jr) LSU: CB 5'11" 193 lbs
-Kendall Fuller(Jr) V-Tech: CB 6' 197 lbs
-Jalen Mills(Sr) LSU: FS/CB 6' 196 lbs
-Will Redmond(Sr) Miss St: CB 6' 190 lbs
-Darian Thompson(Sr) Boise St: FS 6'2" 210 lbs
Deon Bush(Sr) Miami: FS 6'1" 205 lbs