The start of free agency is around the corner and teams are creating their wish lists and checking it twice. Here are 10 names that are hopefully crossed off the Redskins wish list:
–Kenny Britt seems to be everyone’s favorite reclamation project this year, and considering the potential Britt had coming into the league and the early success it’s easy to see why. Britt was a first round pick and is a 6’3″ receiver with good deep speed. His first two years he had over 80 catches, 1,400 yards and 12 TD’s. 2011 was supposed to be his breakout year and he started off strong with 17 catches and 289 yards in the first three games, but he tore up his knee in that 3rd game and his season came to an end. Since then things have gone really down hill for Britt. He was suspended for the first game of the 2012 season after a DUI in the offseason, and went on to have a disappointing 45 catch, 589 yard season. The hope was that his 2nd year back from the injury he could break out again, but serious attitude and work ethic questions quickly got him in the doghouse. He was inactive a number of weeks and saw a dramatic reduction in playing time. He ended the year with just 11 catches for 96 yards. To put that in comparison Britt had 6 penalties, which is pretty much unheard of for a WR, much less one that is barely on the field. Britt has had a number of incidents involving the police throughout his career and has injury, work ethic and attitude issues. He’s not someone the Redskins should introduce to their lockerroom.
-Talib was arguably one of the top 5 corners in the league last season and seemed to play with focus and a high level of effort that wasn’t seen from him in the past. Talib had always been a big play corner, but his play was notoriously streaky and he would seem to give up on plays when he was in Tampa. Talib also had a long track record of off the field issues when he was in Tampa as well, including multiple assault charges and a 4 game suspension for PEDs. Whether Talib simply matured, respected the Patriots coaches and team more, enjoyed playing for a contender or was on his best behavior for a new contract, the Redskins should avoid signing him at all possible. Those factors that may have led to Talib to have a trouble free season, won’t be in place in Washington. He’ll be playing under his former coach Raheem Morris, who he clearly didn’t respect in Tampa; the Redskins are probably a couple years from really contending; and Talib will be locked into a long term contract. Another concern with Talib is his injury history. Due to injuries (and his suspension) Talib has never played a 16 game season and since 2009 he’s never played in more than 13 games. If you sign him you should expect him to miss some time.
-There is little doubt that Jarius Byrd is one of the premier free agents this offseason and one of the better safeties in the league. Given the Redskins need there that should make him an easy fit. Unfortunately Byrd fully expects to be paid like a premier free agent and a top safety in this league. He’ll likely break the bank of safety salaries, and end up the highest paid in the league. While you can argue that he’s worth it, the Redskins have too many holes to spend that much on a safety at this time and signing him would probably be cost prohibitive over the long haul. If the Redskins were a contender or only had a couple of holes it would be one thing, but they aren’t close to contending and need to fix half of their starters.
-Decker is similar to Byrd as a good player who just isn’t going to fit given his price tag for the position. Decker has really nice size and hands, and is probably one of the better number 2 WR’s in the league. The Redskins have a big need at WR opposite Pierre Garcon and they could use some size. Unfortunately Decker’s price tag will probably be in the $8-9 million a year range. That is just too much for the Redskins to spend on a number 2 WR, especially given what they are paying Pierre Garcon. It could maybe be justified if the Redskins were expected to throw the ball like the Lions, Saints, Broncos. There a number 2 WR could get 90-100 catches and would be bringing in 1,200-1,300. The Redskins though are likely to cut back on their passing attempts and should be more in line with teams like the Seahawks and 49ers. That would mean the number 2 receiver could be looking at 40-50 catches and 600-700 yards. That’s not worth spending big money to lock up that position.
-Spikes is big name player and one of the better run defenders out there. With the missed tackles and late reactions of London Fletcher and Perry Riley this past year it would be a welcome addition to have a stout run defender in the middle of the Redskins LB corps. The problem with Spikes is that he’s limited overall. He’s not strong in coverage and the Redskins can’t afford to pay a guy good money if he’s only going to play 55% of the snaps. If the Skins had some depth at the position maybe you could make a case for a platoon situation, but the only guy under contract is Keenan Robinson and he’s missed all of this past season and the end of the 2012 season due to injury. Spikes also has some concerns with his work ethic and attitude and it’s best that the Skins go a different route.
-Verner is a top young corner who has played at a pretty high level. The problem is that he is going to get paid and will likely be looking for a deal north of $10 million a season. The Redskins couldn’t justify that even if corner was their biggest need, but now it’s impossible to justify. The Redskins re-signed DeAngelo Hall for a reasonable deal and they seem prepared to start David Amerson opposite him. If you sign Verner someone is regulated to slot duty. Amerson can’t play the position, and it’s not a strength of either Hall or Verner. Also,it would mean that one of Hall or Amerson would become a 50-60% type of player. Either the Redskins would be sitting Hall and his moderate contract on the bench or their 2013 2nd round pick for another year. The Skins could use another corner, preferably one who has played the slot and can spend a little money here, but they shouldn’t break the bank. Also it is worth noting that most big money corners (including D-Hall in 2009) don’t come close to offering a positive return on their investment.
-Edelman is a guy who the Redskins could have signed for $1 million or less last offseason, but failed to do so. He re-signed with the Patriots and had a breakout year making him one of the biggest bargains. Now Edelman will probably be looking for a contract in the $6 million a year range. While that is cheaper than say Decker, Edelman is not a fit for the Redskins. He’s a slot receiver who needs to be part of a spread attack. The Redskins aren’t going to be that as a base offense, and they aren’t going to have their slot receiver on the field enough to justify a big contract like that. While his skill set is nice (and his return ability), the Skins can’t afford to pay that much for a guy who might only be on the field 45% of the time.
-When the Redskins signed Stephen Bowen to a 5 year deal in 2011 (side note he was an UFA in 2011 as well, Cowboys re-signed him for 3 years totaling $6 million), they opened the door for Jason Hatcher to have a bigger role in Dallas. Prior to that he was essentially the 4th DE in the Cowboys 3-4 and would see about 300 snaps a year. After Bowen left, Hatcher’s snap total and production went way up, and he became a very productive piece of their 3-4 defense. This past year the Cowboys moved to a 4-3 and Hatcher had a huge year with 11 sacks. While Hatcher is a productive player and can add pass rush to a 3-4, he’s going to be 32 next season, and he’s still likely to get paid. If the Redskins were a contender it would make a lot of sense, but he’s got 2-3 more productive years left, and the Skins shouldn’t be looking to pay good money for that.
-Raji is a former 2009 1st round pick capable of playing both DE and NT in a 3-4 and was an integral part of the Packers 2010 Super Bowl run. Unfortunately in the 3 seasons since that SB run his play has really fallen off. While he still makes some plays from time to time, overall he’s pretty invisible out there, which is not a good sign for a 330 lbs guy. The potential is there for him to dominate, but the results these past years just don’t show it. Maybe he needs a change of scenery, but GB is considered one of the best markets and places to play. If you can’t bring your A game there, it’s unlikely you will find it with a rebuilding team like Washington. Also the Redskins biggest need along the line is a DL who can get pressure on the QB. Raji has only ever done that in 2010, since then he’s barely gotten close to the QB.
-Heading into 2011 Beason was one of the premier ILB’s in the league and looked poised for a great career. Unfortunately back-to-back lost seasons due to injury in 2011 and 2012 changed his long term outlook. The Giants traded for him this past season and he had a nice bounceback year. He’ll likely still have a pretty solid market, but you have to be concerned with the injuries. Given how thin the Redskins are, particularly at ILB it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go with an injury risk as a starting option that you invest good money in. If the circumstances were different he might be worth taking a shot on, but the Redskins should probably just pass.