Top 5 Positions the Redskins Should Focus on Next Week in Free Agency
It’s been a long time since I have been confident in either of the two safeties the Washington Redskins have put on the field. I was never a Laron Landry guy so you have to go back to Sean Taylor for me to approve of a safety wearing burgundy and gold.
Reed Doughty has been a solid contributor but it is time the Redskins improve this position. Last season they tried through the draft by taking both Philip Thomas and Baccari Rambo. Thomas got hurt and Rambo struggled as a rookie when put out there pretty much from day one. Hopefully Thomas can return in camp but they still need someone to attempt to solidify the secondary. Brandon Merriweather would be back but we tried that and it was far from great.
One of the top free agents overall on the market is Jarius Byrd and many teams will battle over him at 4:01 next Tuesday. Washington has a bad history of jumping on these big dollar guys, but this should be a priority. They could risk waiting for the draft and using the 34th on a safety but that is risky and the team has many voids especially on defense. I expect Bruce Allen to be in on Byrd but many teams will be also so it could get costly. But it is worth it.
2- Nose Tackle
Surprisingly this is on the list since we have a good one in Barry Cofield already here. But I would rather see the Redskins try to get a true nose and move Cofield outside. I would like to see Cofield and Chris Baker at the defensive end positions and someone brought in to at least split time with Cofield at the nose. Moving Cofield to 1/2 nose and 1/2 end would work also. But it doesn't look like Allen and Haslett plan to do this. Which I think is a mistake.
Maybe look at guys like Linval Joseph or Paul Soliai to help bolster a defensive line that regressed in 2013. I could also see them addressing this spot with the early 3rd round pick also in May.
3- Right Tackle
Everyone has been calling for Tyler Polumbus to be replaced for two years now. I think it may finally happen this offseason. Washington needs someone on the right side because the left is solid for the next few years. The guys at the top of list though are looking to be left tackles and paid like left tackles so I don't expect Eugene Monroe or Brandon Albert to be in play. I think they would have interest in a guy like Roger Saffold but he could end up back in St. Louis before next Tuesday.
Common sense would point at the Bengals Anthony Collins as a target. Gruden knows him and is familiar with him. Sometimes that doesn't mean it’s a match but he would be an upgrade from Polumbus. Could Washington go with improving the interior of the line and settle for Polumbus or Compton? Maybe but I think it is time to address the right tackle position before the summer.
4- Inside Linebacker
Right now they have zero. Fletcher is retired, Riley is a free agent and Keenan Robinson is a true unknown who has lost two seasons to injury. They have to do something here next week. Could they bring Riley back? Yes but it doesn't look like they are close to being on the same page money wise. Could you hope on Robinson? Yes but they shouldn't so picking up at least one inside backer is a must for this team. Good news is they are not as expensive as the previous spots. They could wait and address this in the draft but that is too much of a risk and could leave them with two backup types patrolling the middle of the defense.
Problem is I don't see the big time guy that will truly upgrade the position. There are guys but they could just be guys like Riley. Donald Butler is gone and Karlos Dansby might be also by next week. It’s almost like you are looking at stop gap veteran guys like Jon Beason and Daryl Smith who did perform well last season but you hope they don't drop off like London did. D'Qwell Jackson is out there but he could have a team by the time you are reading this. The lack of talent on the roster and the lack on the market kinda wishes they went back to a 4-3 and would only need to fill one spot.
5- Wide Receiver/ Returner
Washington truly needs to improve their receiving targets especially with the health concerns of Reed and Hankerson out there. Reed should be good to go but after a strong career start the concussions and nagging injury must be a concern. Is Hankerson is ready, is he a true #2? I don't think so. But could you find a true #2 out there? I think it is better to go with someone who can help in the receiving game but also in the huge need a returner as well.
I could see them bringing in two guys as well to fill these needs especially if they look at their second round pick to help the defense. Golden Tate helps at both needs if they only go with one guy but he is looking at staying in Seattle. Jacoby Jones is a similar option who has been great in the return game and had some success as a wideout. Could they take a chance on a receiver who has had some success but has issues like Kenny Britt (headcase) or Danario Alexander (major injury)? I like Emmanuel Sanders but is he worth spending decent money on? I have bad memories from the Randle-El and Lloyd signings still when it comes to pass catchers.