Here are my predictions for every unrestricted free agent the Redskins have, including what it may cost to resign them. Note veteran free agents will often sign one year deals at the veteran minimum, but cost less against the cap due to provisions in the CBA. For instance a guy like Jordan Black made $920K last year, but only counted for $540K against the cap. I believe this year players who fall inton this category will count for $555K versus the cap. While they will make more money, the $555K is the only number that matters.
-Despite being suspended for part of the year, Griffin had a nice season as a nickel corner for the Redskins. He is probably done as starter in this league, but as a third corner has some nice value. Last year he cost the Redskins $2.5 million, but the suspension could help keep his price down. Given how thin the Redskins are at corner, and the fact that DeAngelo Hall may need to be a cap casualty, the Redskins should strongly consider bringing Griffin back. They may look to the free agent market for a better option, but that could get even more expensive.
What I would do: I’d offer Griffin a one year $2.000 million deal, he may find a better offer, or perhaps the Skins find a better free agent at a similar price, but it is a fair and reasonable offer.
-Lichtensteiger has been a Mike Shanahan favorite since he was drafted in Denver in 2008. He’s been the Redskins starting LG for three years now (not counting the injury), but his play has been pretty suspect. If not for the ineptitude at right tackle during that time frame, Lichtensteiger would have to be considered the Redskins worst starting offensive lineman. He’s coming off a season where he committed 10 penalties, and had a serious knee injury the year before that. Despite the poor track record, he’s likely to be looking for, and will receive a raise from his $1.260 million contract from last season. He sounds like he’s looking for starting money ($4 million+), but even if he was willing to accept quality back-up money ($2-3 million) it wouldn’t make sense for the Redskins.
What I would do: I don’t see how you can justify giving Lichtensteiger a raise as you should be able to find better production at a lower cost. I wouldn’t look to bring him back, and would move on from him. Maybe if he was willing to accept a veteran minimum deal you’d bring him into camp, but Washington should want more from this position.
-Polumbus is another Shanahan favorite, as he first entered the league as an undrafted free agent in Denver. He struggled mightily as the starting right tackle last year, and should not be considered in that capacity. The Redskins are extremely thin at tackle though, given that Jammal Brown is expected to be released and the remaining options (Maurice Hurt and Tom Compton), have all of 54 regular season snaps at RT (Hurt has some guard experience as well), and are not considered top prospects. If Polumbus would be willing to accept a minimum offer it would make sense to bring him back to at least compete for a back-up spot in camp.
What I would do: I would bring Polumbus back at the league minimum, which would count $0.555 against the cap.
-Black came out of retirement during training camp due to how thin the Redskins were at tackle (which also speaks to the readiness a year ago of Hurt an Compton). He struggled some in spot duty, but didn’t completely embarrass himself. He was suspended later in the year for a prescription he was on. The team may give him another shot for a back-up role, but they should probably consider other cheap free agent/draft options.
What I would do: Maybe if Polumbus doesn’t come back, you offer Black a league minimum deal, but I wouldn’t really pursue him.
-Alexander remains a star special teamer, and was even selected to the Pro Bowl this year in that role. He even got some significant defensive work, due to injury. Alexander showed some pass rush ability (though he was inconsistent), but struggled versus the pass. He’s coming off a three year $3.8 million deal, and the team should look to do another three or four year deal to bring him back. Obviously it won’t be a big deal, but it will cost more than the league minimum.
What I would do: I’d sign Alexander to a 3 year $5.5 million deal. That breaks out to $1.833 a year, but I’d structure it to only count for $1 million against the cap this season.
-Kehl was originally signed last offseason and nearly won a job in camp. After being cut before the start of the season he joined the Chiefs, until he was released and came back to the Redskins late in the season. He only saw special teams work with the Skins, but was pretty solid during the preseason. He’s worth bringing back as a camp body on a league minimum type of deal.
What I would do: I would sign him for a league minimum contract, counting $0.555 million against the cap.
-Wilson was supposed to be a guy that would help out in the pass rush department, but even with Brian Orakpo’s injury, he was rarely used. Wilson also struggled on special teams, meaning he’s not likely to be back.
What I would do: The Skins should move forward from Wilson.
-Rocca is coming off a season where he was in the bottom third (and in some categories among the bottom 5) in the league in every major punting category. He’s coming off a 2 year $3.5 million deal, and just isn’t worth that investment for the Redskins next season.
What I would do: I would move on from Rocca even if his price dropped to say $1 million a year.
-Davis has been mentioned by some as a guy that needs to be brought back, but really there isn’t a strong case for him. Davis is coming off a mid-year Achilles injury, and still has a full season suspension looming over him if he tests positive for drugs again. While supporters point to his ability to be a movement tight end, he has struggled throughout his career with drops, route running and has never been a quality red zone weapon. On top of that he’s always been a poor blocker (though showed some improvement last year), which is concerning given the run focus of this offense. Even coming off the injury he’s likely going to be able to land a $3-4 million deal by someone on the open market.
What I would do: The Redskins should move on from Davis as his value as a receiver doesn’t warrant that type of an investment for a team on a budget. (Especially one that runs so much)
-Up until Robert Griffin III’s knee injury, Grossman was unlikely to return. Now though with Griffin on the mend, the Redskins should probably bring him back. Even if Griffin is ready for week one, the Redskins need to have a third quarterback. He won’t cost much, and gives the team peace of mind.
What I would do: I would bring Grossman back for another year. Last year he cost $1.3 million, but hopefully you can ink him for $1 million.
-Williams signed for a league minimum deal last season, but was thrust into the starting line-up due to Tanard Jackson’s suspension. He struggled there and is unlikely to come back even in a reserve role.
What I would do: The Redskins are extremely thin at free safety so hopefully they bring in multiple guys so they won’t need to bring Williams back.
-Jackson is still technically suspended and probably wouldn’t be reactivated until the end of training camp if not during the season. The Redskins shouldn’t even consider him a viable option.
What I would do: The Skins have no business even attempting to bring Jackson back.
-Cooley was cut prior to the start of last season, only to return after Fred Davis’s injury. He played in about 100 offensive snaps, but only caught one pass. He was solid as a blocker, and has shown a willingness to back-up the FB position and play some special teams. The Redskins will probably look to move on again, but may at least give Cooley a camp invite at a league minimum deal.
What I would do: At first I was going to say it was time to move on from Cooley, but with money tight it might not hurt to bring him back at a minimum contract, counting $0.555 against the cap.
-Golston returned from a knee injury last year on a league minimum contract. Due to Adam Carriker’s injury, he saw some significant playing time (400+ snaps). Though he doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, he still had a solid year. Given his familiarity in the system and the fact that he’s considered a good special teams player, the Redskins should look to bring him back. It will probably cost more than the league minimum though.
What I would do: I’d offer him a one year $1 million deal to return.
At the right price I would look to bring back Cedric Griffin, Tyler Polumbus, Lorenzo Alexander, Bryan Kehl, Rex Grossman, Chris Cooley and Kedric Golston. While they all might not make the final roster, bringing them all back would ensure that the Redskins depth doesn’t get any worse, and it would keep some solid special teamers. The cost for these seven guys at my estimate would be: $6.667 million
Now that wouldn’t add an extra $6.667 since those salaries would replace the seven lowest salaries from the Cap. Based on my calculations that would be the salaries for the two 5th round picks, and 6th round pick, as well as the $0.480 for each of Aldrick Robinson, Tom Compton, Doug Worthington and Kai Forbath. Note that this is not saying any of those seven young guys would be cut, just that their salaries would no longer be figured into the cap calculation. Those seven players would account for $3.236, meaning that to re-sign the seven free agents the Redskins would have to free up an extra $3.431 million. Adding that to the total of $13.227, the Redskins would now have to free up $16.658 million.
Tomorrow I will break down some cap savings from various cuts and restructuring of contracts.