The Redskins have a massive free agency class this year and will be bringing in a new staff which typically means a house cleaning is on the horizon. How many current Redskins (either on the active roster or reserve lists) do you think will be back next year? The number could be surprising. Here are my locks and players likely to come back:
Locks- these are players who are all but guaranteed to be here in 2014. Obviously something crazy could happen, but these are pretty safe bets
-I doubt there are any surprises on this list, with maybe the exception of Hankerson. The injury has him a little up in the air, but it also means he probably can’t be traded. Hankerson is young and cheap, and when healthy has been semi-productive. It is very doubtful they let him get away.
-This is a pretty small list, some may be surprised I included Orakpo since he’s an unrestricted free agent, but if he’s not re-signed before the deadline to do so the Redskins will make him their franchise player to lock him up for next year.
Likely to be back- Players who are pretty safe bets to return, but not locks
-Now Cousins and Helu would be locks if there wasn’t a chance they get traded. I’m guessing the Redskins will listen to offers on both at least and could look to make a deal or two. Paulsen hasn’t been as good this year as a blocker and he’s not a great receiving weapon which limits his value. He is likely back for another year, but he’ll likely have to earn it in camp. Niles Paul’s cheap contract and special teams ability makes him pretty safe, but a new staff could go in a different way. Guys like Robinson, Gettis and Compton should all be in camp, but they will have to battle for jobs. Polumbus shouldn’t be a starter next year, but with some experience and how cheap he is, he should at least have a shot in camp to earn a back-up job.
-Jenkins is close to a lock, but a new staff could maybe look to trade him if they don’t think he’ll fit the new system. Golston is pretty cheap and a solid back-up, he’s also played in multiple systems so he’s fairly safe. Robinson is young with some upside, but two injuries could make it tough for him to make it. Rambo, Crawford, Minnifield and Thomas will all get looks and it is likely at least 2 of them make it, but I’d hardly call them safe. Thomas is probably the safest out of all of them since he was the highest drafted and has some potential.
-Now a lot will depend on the new staff and the prices, but it is likely the Redskins at least try to bring these guys back. Baker has shown some promise, Riley is an above average starter (price is important here), Hall is having a nice year and would ensure a veteran is in the secondary, and Doughty in a back-up/ST role is pretty good, he’s just been exposed because he’s forced into far too much action on defense.
-There could be a shot that a Grossman or Barnett come back depending on the coaching staff, but I don’t think they’ll be priorities. Same thing with guys like Meriweather, Wilson, Kehl, Jackson and Tapp. In the right circumstances they could be back, but with a new staff almost all should be playing elsewhere next year.
-These are players who are under contract, but they probably have a pretty uphill fight to make the team. A couple will probably make it, but most of them probably won’t be on the 53 man roster. Forbath may be considered a surprise here, but he’s been in consistent and a quality special teams coach (and head coach) will likely value the ability to get touchbacks something he struggles mightily with. If they keep Forbath they must find a punter who can kick-off.
-I think these are the players who will likely be cut as soon as a new staff is in place. Not only do they save money for free agency, but the Redskins should be able to find upgrades at every position.
If all the locks, and likely to be back (including the free agents) end up making it back that is 31 names, meaning the Redskins would need to add 22 players next year. Maybe they squeak out a couple more guys from the bubble names or the unlikely to re-sign free agents, but at the same time if a couple of those likely players aren’t brought back for some reason (i.e. a Cousins trade) it could balance out. It’s probably safe to say the Redskins will need to bring in 20 guys next year. Overall that isn’t too much of a bad thing as you typically see 10-15 guys replaced every year, but the problem for the Redskins is they are missing quite a few starters.