Though the Redskins lack money, if they are serious about contending this year, they should find a way to restructure a contract or two to secure a couple free agents who are available at a bargain. It made perfect sense to wait out the market earlier in the free agent period, but now the Redskins have to adding 1-3 players. No none of these guys who are still available are stars, but there are some solid guys still out there, especially at positions of need for the Redskins. Though the Redskins return the core of their team, and the guys that helped them rattle off 7 wins at the end of the season to win the NFC East, they also return a lot of problem areas who “helped” this team get off to a 3-6 start to the season last year. Upgrades were definitely needed, and thus far they haven’t really materialized. That could change now though if the Redskins are able to land a couple of the following free agents:
-Simply put Winston is a perfect fit for the Redskins. He has been one of the better right tackles in the league a position the Redskins have been desperate to fill since Jon Jansen retired. On top of him being a talent at an obvious need, he is a system fit as well, as he’s spent the majority of his career with the Houston Texans running basically the same system the Redskins run (and that includes the overlap of when Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator out there). Right tackle prices have tumbled this year, where the going rate in the past for a RT of his caliber was $5-6 million, Winston would be lucky to get more than $3.5 million a year now. Considering the fact that Jammal Brown is essentially being paid $3.3 million this year to not be on the team, I think going forward the Redskins can afford Winston’s price tag. Sign him to a 3-4 year deal which much of the money backloaded and then you will only have to clear $1-1.5 million this year. The upgrade that he would represent would be well worth it, as he would help keep Griffin upright and ensure he isn’t forced to scramble on his bad knee this year.
– Safety was a major problem area for the Redskins last year, and while they are hoping that Brandon Meriweather can return from his knee injury to fill the strong safety spot, the free safety spot is very much up in the air. Yes the Redskins drafted a pair of safeties this year, but Mike Shanahan typically doesn’t like to start non-first round rookies (unless there are injuries), especially at the start of the season. Also, the higher drafted safety, Phillip Thomas, is more of a natural strong safety and may be best served as Meriweather’s understudy to take over his role in 2014 when he’s a free agent. Sixth round rookie Bacarri Rambo has some really nice long term potential, but he can be undisciplined and inconsistent at times and not a guy that you’d like to throw in the deep end. The Redskins really don’t have any good stopgaps on the roster and should look outside the roster to find an option. Rhodes would be well more than a stopgap as there is a no reason he shouldn’t be able to start all season and give the Redskins quality production.
Rhodes, who will be 31 this season, has been a starter for eight years and has been for the most part a good starter. He’s not at a Pro Bowl level, but would still be a massive upgrade over what the Redskins have had back there. He’s essentially on the same level as O.J. Atogwe if he were healthy. While earlier in the offseason his price tag would have been higher, at this point he should be had for a pretty good price. The Redskins could even consider going multiple years, since free safety is a big more uncertain than SS going forward.