Ranking the Redskins Offseason Needs: Offense
This is a ranking of the Washington Redskins offensive needs, based on who are free agents, position depth going forward, and taking into account any potential salary cap casualties. (note: since restricted free agents are under team control I am assuming they are still on the team)
1. Right Tackle:
-Tyler Polumbus, Jordan Black and Jammal Brown (hopefully) are all either free agents or likely to be free agents. Left at the position are 2nd year 6th round pick Tom Compton, who was on the practice squad for most of the year, and 3rd year 7th round pick Maurice Hurt, who played guard as a rookie before moving to tackle more last year. Between the two of them they have one start at right tackle, which is really unacceptable if the Redskins want to be considered a playoff caliber team. Protecting Robert Griffin and Kirk Cousins next year has to be a top priority, and investing in a quality right tackle is a great way to do that.
2. Left Guard:
-Kory Lichtensteiger is a free agent and currently there is a major question mark behind him on the depth chart. While some may love Lichtensteiger, he committed 10 penalties this past season, and was consistently the worst or 2nd worst lineman in a game. Giving him a pay raise (which is what he wants) doesn’t make much sense, given the salary cap realities. Behind Lichtensteiger is 2nd year 3rd round pick Josh LeRibeus. LeRibeus got some late season work (including the playoffs) and was a mixed bag. At times he held up well, while on other series he was completely lost. Behind him our 2nd year 5th round pick Adam Gettis, who has promise but was inactive all year last year, also moving Hurt back to guard is an option, but he struggled mightily two years ago as a rookie. While LeRibeus is expected to win the job, he shouldn’t have it just handed to him. Some level of competent competition should be brought in to ensure he is up for the task.
3. Tight End:
-While Logan Paulsen should be back as a restricted free agent, both Chris Cooley and Fed Davis are unrestricted and likely to not come back. Though there may be a big push to try to re-sign Davis, he’s coming off an Achilles injury and will probably have his fair share of incentive laden offers. The Redskins can’t afford to give him the best deal, and really they probably shouldn’t. He’s a pass catching TE who relies almost exclusively on his speed. He doesn’t have the best hands, he’s not a good route runner or technique guy, and he’s going to struggle in both blocking and penalties. His speed could be compromised due to the injury, and given how much the Redskins run the football it doesn’t make sense to invest in him. Though Paulsen can handle starting duties it would be nice to maybe bring in a tight end who at least has the ability to be more of a pass catching threat, though who can still block.
4. Running Back:
-There is almost no chance that Alfred Morris can repeat and have 335 carries again and have such a high percentage of the running back attempts. To continue to run him like that really risks shortening his career, while setting the team back. Roy Helu Jr. is back to help share the workload, but the team needs far better depth and may even want to consider carrying four backs on the roster.
5. Wide Receiver:
–Santana Moss could potentially be cut, but even if he stays the team could consider bringing in a receiver. Moss, Josh Morgan and Dezmon Briscoe are all free agents after this season, making the depth behind Pierre Garcon pretty questionable.
6. Offensive Line Depth:
-Even if this team adds a starting right tackle and left guard, depth is a real issue here. The Redskins were extremely lucky in 2012 with the overall health of their offensive line, but they can’t rely on that to be the case going forward. Assuming two new starters, the Redskins would only have LeRibeus, Gettis, Hurt and Compton behind them. That is very little experience or upside to rely on, and at the very least they shouldn’t just be handed the jobs.
-While not a major need, it doesn’t hurt to look forward. Rex Grossman is likely back for one more year, but after that the Redskins could use a young cheap 3rd quarterback. Washington could look to grab a late round/undrafted guy and stash him on the practice squad for a year.