Everyone already knows about the biggest FA decision facing the Redskins this off-season (Kirk Cousins). Most even know about the impending decisions they face in their WR corps (Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson). But a team is more than it’s star players and the Redskins have quite a few guys whom they need to make determinations about their future.
Ideally when looking at FAs, you obviously want guys who are talented, but you also want veteran leaders. The good teams (of which the ‘Skins are one) prefer to build through the draft. So when they have to step outside the organization to fill some holes, they know they’re getting older guys who they’re probably having to overpay a little bit. In that situation, you want leaders who can make an impact on your franchise beyond just their talent level.
Heading into this off-season (with about $60M in cap space), the Redskins have 16 guys they need to decide on:
Kirk Cousins, QB: Kirk’s a solid QB in a league that doesn’t have enough. It’s simple supply and demand at this point and the Redskins need Kirk a lot more than he needs them. He’s going to get paid. He’s going to probably be the top QB available. The only question is, will it be the Redskins paying him? At the very least, the team can franchise him again for another season and I expect they’d go that route if they can’t get a long-term deal done. However, I’m very confident that they will and make Kirk a very, very rich man and the leader of this franchise for years to come.
Pierre Garcon, WR: Pierre’s a solid-to-great WR who’ll be looking for a raise (and frankly he deserves and has earned it). Will the Redskins give it to him? I honestly don’t know. I think they’re more likely to keep him than Jackson, but I wouldn’t be shocked either way. 50-50 at this point.
DeSean Jackson, WR: One of the rarest, most unique talents in the league. He’s without a doubt the best speedster/deep threat going right now. The thing is, he knows that too and this may be his last contract to really cash in. At 30, Jackson is still a very small football player who relies most heavily on his speed. That’s typically one of the first things to go when a player ages. He obviously still has it right now, but for how much longer? I expect another team to pay him an awful lot of money and the Redskins to let him walk knowing they have Josh Doctson in waiting.
Chris Baker, DL: This is a guy who loves the Redskins and was brought here initially as an UDFA rookie. He’s made himself into the best player on our DL (I mean that as a compliment though our DL sucks). I’m 50-50 on his return, as well. On the one hand, we obviously need to improve our DL, so letting our best one go would be a pretty ridiculous way to get that started. On the other hand, him being the best of a bad bunch may make his value be a little escalated in his own mind. He’s not an incredible player and not worth overpaying. But if a reasonable deal can be done, why make a glaring hole bigger? We’ll see.
Ziggy Hood, DL: He’s decent, versatile, and will probably be cheap. I think (and hope) they’ll bring him back as a backup/rotational player. He proved this year he still has a little something left in the tank and for a nice, low price, he’s the kind of veteran I’d like to keep around. He can play anywhere on the line. Ideal reserve.
Terence Garvin, ILB: He’s a STs ace who can fill in on defense in a pinch. Seems like a good guy to bring back on a cheap contract to continue building our STs.
Junior Galette, OLB: Two straight years ended with Achilles injuries. That’s tough. There isn’t a chance in hell I’d pay him a lot of money and I doubt any other team will, either. He loves the Redskins (got a Redskins tattoo) and seems like the ultra committed type who’s willing to put in the work. If he’ll sign up for another super cheap, worry-free contract like he did this past off-season (maybe even cheaper), then I’d bring him back to camp. He’s still only 28. Adding him (health) to our OLB group really completes that position and makes it a major strength. He’s worth another look.
Greg Toler, CB: A good veteran reserve, in my opinion. Will be cheap and on a short contract. I’d bring him back to camp at the very least. He’s not great, but he’s solid depth at an already strong, deep position.
Duke Ihenacho, SS: I like him. His tackling wasn’t where I expected it to be this year, but I like him as a guy in his prime who will still be cheap, can contribute on STs and makes for a solid reserve safety. Won’t do much in coverage, but he hits hard and is pretty good snuffing out the run game. I say bring him back to camp and let him compete.
Donte Whitner, SS: Bye, Felicia.
Kedric Golston, DL: This guy is supposedly an excellent leader, but at this point, I don’t know that that’s enough to keep him around. Nothing surprises me with Kedric anymore, though. Dude’s about to turn 34. I think it’s probably time for him to hang ‘em up, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he’s brought back to camp next season to compete for a reserve spot. If he starts again, we’re doomed.
Cullen Jenkins, DL: Too old (about to be 36).
Nick Sundberg, LS: He’s solid, in his prime, and consistent. Should definitely be brought back. No need to create new problems. He does a good job.
Vernon Davis, TE: He’ll be back (and he should be). They’re already talking about a new contract and honestly, age doesn’t seem to have affected him too much. He’s getting up there, but still has great athleticism and brings that veteran leadership I was talking about. We need a solid backup behind Reed since the offense is built around that position and Reed is a little injury-prone. Sign him to a decent contract and we’re set with out top two TEs. Nice.
John Sullivan, C: Look, he’s better than Kory Lichtensteiger. Let Kory go ahead and retire and try to convince Sullivan to stick on as Long’s backup. If he wants to start, he’ll have to go elsewhere. If he’s cool with being our backup C, I’d love to have him back.
Josh Evans, S: I mean, who really cares? I guess bring him to camp and let him compete? Hopefully the team can do better and not need him on the roster...