This is a Three Part Series. Part 1 focuses on guys the Redskins should look to cut or trade, as well as what they should do with their own free agents.
Part 2 is a look at the moves the Redskins should make in free agency and the draft.
The Redskins still might have seven games to go in the season, but it is time to start thinking about next year, and how the team can get back to respectability. Unfortunately, Washington saw this season just how much talent they lacked at a number of key positions, most notably quarterback, and the majority of the offensive line. A rash of injuries also exposed just how little depth they had on the roster.
The good news for Washington is for the first time since 1997, the Redskins are entering a draft with their picks in the first 4 rounds intact (*note there have been other years where through various trades they’ve had picks in the top 4 rounds, but it involved them trading back, or trading away a player, or compensatory selections). In addition, the Redskins have an extra pick in the 4th round stemming from the Jason Campbell trade.
The Redskins also enter next offseason in a fairly strong financial position, with upwards of $45 million to spend to get to the salary cap. The Redskins do have some significant free agents to resign, but they should have more than enough money to add 3-6 additional quality signings (depending on how big the signings are and if they bring back all of their free agents).
I’m going to break down free agency, the draft and then look at each position and what I’d do for the Redskins. But first I’ll go through the Redskins top free agents, and players I’d look to cut or trade.
Now I like Gaffney, and think he is a solid receiver but the Redskins would be wise to try to move him, to give young receivers or a higher upside (and longer term) signing the starting role. Now you probably won’t get more than a 6th or 7th rounder for him, but its worth it considering moving him frees up an additional $2.7 million next year
The Redskins desperately need to rebuild their running game and unfortunately I don’t see Torain as part of that solution. I doubt you’d get more than a 7th rounder for him, but I’d move him to make way for a more talented back.
Sellers has been a good player for the Skins for a number of years now, unfortunately most of that value comes from his special teams play. With Darryl Young established as the fullback, the Redskins have little need for Sellers now, and they could free up an extra million in cap space.
It’s quite clear that John Beck isn’t even really backup material at this point, the Redskins need to clear the roster space and they can free up an extra million.
Cutting Brown will actually cost the Redskins more money ($650K) then it would be to keep him, but cutting him is the way to go. Not only does it send a message to the team, but it clears a roster spot for someone who could actually be with the Skins beyond next season. Also, it clears the cap completely for 2013, giving the team more money to work with then.
Now I don’t think the Redskins need to cut Cooley, but they have to get him to restructure his current deal so he doesn’t cost so much against the cap.
These moves could save the Redskins an additional $6-7 million depending on the Cooley restructure.
Davis is enjoying a breakout season, and has established himself as a weapon for the Redskins. While his price tag is jumping up, he is essentially a must sign as long as his demands aren’t too high.
Despite his age, Fletcher is a must sign as well, as he is the heart and soul of the defense. While he is likely to come back, there is always a chance that a contender swoops in and he decides to play out his final years on a contending team.
While Landry can be frustrating at times on defense, he has the tools to be great. As long as the money isn’t too crazy, they should look to keep him since their aren’t too many options on the free agent market.
While it is a tough decision, I’d let Carriker walk. Yes, statistically he’s having the best year of his career, but it doesn’t seem his play is sustainable. Carriker has also been weak versus the run this year, which is surprising considering that was his strong suit coming into the year. Given the increase in sacks, Carriker is likely to ask for money similar to what Stephen Bowen got, which just isn’t worth it for the Skins.
Golston has looked really solid this year in a reserve role, and it appears that if you limit his snaps you can get some really solid production. Golston is now out for the rest of the year with an injury, but if he looks to be healing well he’s worth bringing back in a reserve capacity.
While McIntosh started the year playing better than the previous season, his play has dropped off to the point where he’s now been benched for 2nd year man Perry Riley. The Redskins have to just let him walk next offseason and move on.
Lichtensteiger is actually a restricted free agent this year, despite being reported by many to be a UFA this offseason. He didn’t get enough service time during the 2009 season, as the Vikings cut him after just a few weeks. So Lichtensteiger should be back with the Redskins, but given his knee injury, Washington would be wise to ensure that they have a good amount of interior depth.
Montgomery has been a solid role player for the Skins who has been thrusted into the starting lineup. While overall his play has been okay, the Redskins should look to upgrade here, and only bring him back if they strike out on the free agent market.
Hightower isn’t really a starter, but if he returns healthy from his knee injury he could be a solid role player. The Redskins should look to bring him back on a 1-2 year deal with little guaranteed money.