With the Redskins hiring of Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, it is likely they might have an interest in some of his former players as they hit free agency this year. Here are 5 of the most likely candidates to be wearing Burgundy and Gold next year:
-Collins has been the Bengals swing tackle since the drafted him in the 4th round in 2008. Despite making 18 spot starts his first four years and handling himself pretty well, he didn’t receive much free agent interest. He re-signed with the Bengals for a 2 year deal in 2012. After barely seeing any time in 2012, Collins was called upon quite a bit this past season as injuries forced starting LT Andrew Whitworth inside. Collins played very well down the stretch for the Bengals at left tackle and definitely left an impression. Some teams could value him at the left tackle spot, but it is likely most of his offers will come along the right side. The Redskins have a major hole here and could use Collins to plug it and give RGIII the protection he needs.
-Mike Pollack is a former 2nd rounder from the Colts in 2008, and started 41 games for them over 4 years. He was a bit of a streaky player and they let him walk when they were cleaning house in 2012. He played with the Panthers that year but couldn’t crack the line-up. Last year the Bengals signed him as a back-up, but he ended up making 5 starts and playing in 8 games (including the playoffs) due to injury. He played pretty well during his time with the Bengals, despite the fact that the whole line was shifting due to multiple injuries. At the very least he should be a fairly cheap back-up guard option, and could even be asked to start at one of the spots.
-Tate is a former 3rd round pick from the Patriots in 2009, but he’s caught just 14 passes these last three years with the Bengals. Despite that lack of offensive production it wouldn’t be surprising to see Tate in camp with the Redskins next year. He’s got good size (6’1″) and really nice deep speed, but the real reason he should be in camp is the fact that he’s a good returner. He might not be an elite returner like some of the guys on the market, but Tate can get the job done. He’s got three career return TD’s so far and he averaged 9.3 yards per punt return and 26.1 yards per kick-off return. For comparison the Redskins averaged 6.4 yards per punt, and 20.0 yards per kick return.
-Roland was an undrafted free agent out off Georgia signed by the Cowboys in 2006. He eventually made his way to the Bengals in 2009 and started 18 games over the next two years for them. Since then he’s made two more starts but has seen additional time in jumbo packages as an extra tight end. The Bengals actually cut Roland during this past season, but brought him back when some injuries started piling up. He hasn’t played as much with Gruden, but he could be a solid veteran option to bring in to challenge Tyler Polumbus and Tom Compton for a back-up role.
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-Crocker may be on the defensive side of the ball but that doesn’t mean Gruden doesn’t recognize how important he could be for the Redskins. Crocker is a veteran player near the end of his playing days, but that kind of veteran leadership could be well received with the Redskins trying to break in young safeties Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas. Crocker shouldn’t be viewed as a full time starting option, but he could be a platoon safety if the Redskins don’t find better options.
-Hawkins was undrafted back in 2008, and made his way to the CFL. He got his shot with the Bengals in 2011 and developed into a nice slot receiver. In 35 games for the Bengals he has nearly 90 catches and 1,000 yards. The Bengals could look to match offers for him, but he’s a bit buried on their WR depth chart as he’s limited to the slot. The Redskins could view him as the replacement to Santana Moss and put in a moderate offer to him.
-Rey is a undrafted free agent out of Duke from 2010 for the Bengals. He’s worked his way up as a role player/part time starter and has played well when given opportunities for Cincinnati. The Bengals have the money to match an offer and could even ensure they retain him by giving him a 2nd round tender, but there is a chance they wouldn’t match. They seem set on keeping Rey Maualunga in the line-up despite his failures and might not want to invest in Vincent Rey. Rey has the ability to play any linebacker spot in a 4-3 and could play inside in a 3-4. If the Bengals don’t give him a second round tender, they might not be a bad option to give a decent deal (not a big one) to, and see if he can develop into a fulltime starter.