-I don't believe that the Redskins should push any money into future years even if it frees up an extra million or two this year. The Redskins can get plenty of salary cap space on cuts alone and that should be their focus.
DE Stephen Bowen, DL Barry Cofield, TE Logan Paulsen, G Chris Chester, CB Tracy Porter, C Kory Lichtensteiger, and WR Pierre Garcon
-Ideally the Redskins could trade Garcon instead (it would be the same cap savings), but if they can't find a deal cutting him is not out of the question. It would be a major cap savings over the next two years and there is no reason why the Redskins are spending that much on the WR position. Garcon is clearly behind D-Jax, and offers more of a savings than him or Andre Roberts. He's a tough one to lose, but he's wasted talent and way too pricey on the Redskins right now.
As for the rest the only mild surprises are Barry Cofield and Kory Lichtensteiger. Cofield is just too expensive and coming off a couple injury filled years. The Redskins need to get younger on the DL so moving on from Cofield makes sense. As for Lichtensteiger he was probably the Redskins 2nd best offensive lineman last year, though that is more a testament to how bad the line was than a real positive for Lichtensteiger. With some thought that the Redskins may look to be more of a power or at least hybrid blocking scheme, it's unlikely that Lichtensteiger is going to fit well into Bill Callahan's plans.
After all these cuts the Redskins would have a little over $37 million in cap room this year.
-I like the idea of signing Niles Paul and re-signing Brian Orakpo could make sense as a stop gap type of player, but in the end I decided with a new GM and a staff that has very few Mike Shanahan holdovers at this point, it is time for a fresh start.
Free agent signings:
G Mike Iupati: 5 years $7.8 million a year, $39 million total ($4.68 million cap hit)
OT Derek Newton: 4 years $5.75 million a year, $23 million total ($4.025 million cap hit)
C Brian De La Puente: 1 year $3.15 million a year, $3.15 million total ($3.15 million cap hit)
TE Jermaine Gresham: 4 years $4.25 million a year, $17 million total ($2.975 million cap hit)
QB Shaun Hill: 1 year $2.5 million a year, $2.5 million total ($2.5 million cap hit)
DT Stephen Paea: 5 years $5.75 million a year, $28.75 million total ($3.45 million cap hit)
OLB Dwight Freeney: 2 years $4.5 million a year, $9 million total ($3.6 million cap hit)
CB Kyle Arrington: 4 years $5.15 million a year, $20.6 million total ($3.605 million cap hit)
S Marcus Gilchrest: 3 years $4.25 million a year, $12.75 million total ($3.187 million cap hit)
S Dwight Lowery: 3 years $2.75 million a year, $8.25 million total ($2.062 million cap hit)
Offensive Free agents:
-I went heavy with the offensive line in this scenario, with blocking as a whole the main focus. Guard Mike Iupati is one of the better guards in the NFL and he would be a massive upgrade at left guard for the Redskins. He's one of the best run blockers in the league so Morris running behind Trent Williams and Iupati would have a field day. Shawn Lauvao could then move to RG to compete with Spencer Long for the role (maybe another rookie as well). Derek Newton had a really good year for the Texans and it looks like he's breaking out. He's a bit risky because he's only had one big year, but he's still young and comes cheaper than top end RT's which go for more like $7-9 million a year. At center the top guys were re-signed/franchised so I decided to go with Brian De La Puente who has been a solid starter, but isn't a guy I wanted to invest long term for. I might have been able to get him cheaper with offering a longer deal, but went with the stop gap approach.
Continuing the blocking theme I added Jermaine Gresham at TE. The former first round pick has some experience with Jay Gruden and he would fit in well as an inline option for the Redskins. Though not a dynamic playmaker he offers good catching ability and has the size to be a nice red zone threat. If Jordan Reed is injured, Gresham can be an effective target. The final offensive free agent was QB Shaun Hill. Hill is not a starting QB, but he is one of the better back-ups in the league. He's been around and can offer some nice advice to the Redskins young QB's, and offer insurance if both Griffin and Cousins struggle or are injured.
Defensive free agents:
-With investing a lot of money in offensive free agents, there wasn't a ton left over to aggressively go after top defensive players. Instead I looked more to find solid starters or role players to help the defense and hope that Kerrigan, Keenan Robinson, Hatcher and Breeland can anchor the unit.
In the front seven I only added two players, but they should both help get pressure on the quarterback which is a great way to improve the pass defense as a whole. Stephen Paea had a bit of a breakout year with the Bears and would fit in nicely as a hybrid 5 tech/0 tech as the Redskins move to more of a 1 gap scheme (apparently). He had 6 sacks and 42 pressures in 435 pass rushes this past year. For comparison of how bad the Redskins need help here, outside of Jason Hatcher the Redskins other defensive linemen combined for 5 sacks and 50 pressures in over 1,000 combined pass rushes (schemes were different, but that is pretty bad).
Dwight Freeney is another pass rusher who can help the Redskins from the ROLB position as a platoon mate with Trent Murphy. Freeney has worked under new DC Joe Barry the past two years and he has HOF credentials for his career. If he still wants to keep playing this would be a good spot for him as a stop gap option. Freeney didn't get sacks at his previous rates, but in 407 pass rush snaps he got 3.5 sacks and 49 pressures. Compare that to Trent Murphy who in 291 pass rush snaps got 2.5 sacks and 21 pressures. Even if you extrapolated Murphy's pressure rate over the 407 pass rushes that Freeney had, he would still come up 20 pressures short of the veteran.
In the defensive backfield I knew money was tighter so I only went with one solid free agent and two solid short term options. The solid free agent pick-up was corner Kyle Arrington from the Patriots. He can play in the slot (unlike the Redskins current corners) and if David Amerson continues to struggle to develop he could even start. Strong safety Marcus Gilchrest is from the Chargers so there is some familiarity there with Joe Barry. He's not a great safety, but he's a good in the box type of guy and definitely a solid upgrade. Dwight Lowery came into the league as a corner but has transitioned to FS. He's been up-and-down, but he is coming off a solid year for the Falcons and until the Redskins find something better he would be the best free safety the Redskins have had in years.
What did you think? Let me know your thoughts and your free agency simulations in the comments below.