Washington Redskins Free Agent Plan: Bargain Shopping
Due to their salary cap issues the Redskins aren’t expected to be major players in free agency. Depending on how much they free up the Redskins may be able to squeeze in a moderate signing or two, but most of their signings should be of the minor variety (1-3 years and $1-3.5 million average value). Here are some of the better bargain options at various positions of need:
The former Cowboys first round pick has been somewhat of a bust, but he’s flashed some big play ability and would be a nice change of pace back to Alfred Morris. Given that he’s coming off a disappointing year he should come fairly cheaply as well. He’s also been used as a part time returner as well.
Woodhead will never be an every down back, but he’s proven to be a very good and efficient third down back. Not only can he help in a running and receiving capacity, but he’s also proven to be very effective as a pass protector. He could also line up in the slot for the Redskins giving him quite a bit of versatility.
Howling has always been a highly effective return man, but got a chance for some expanded playing time this past year. While the numbers won’t wow you, it is important to remember he was playing behind probably the worst offensive line in football with perhaps the worst QB situation. Stephens-Howling is similar to Woodhead, though not as polished but a better return man.
The former New York Giant TE hasn’t been as productive away from Eli Manning, but could represent a nice value. He was always a pretty sure handed, and big red zone target. While he doesn’t have a lot of dynamic ability, he has averaged 13.6 ypc (Fred Davis only averaged 12.7) for his career. He’s also always been a pretty solid-to-good blocker which is key for the Redskins. Injuries are a concern as he’s had some issues with concussions, but he could be a cheap option who can offer above-average starting level talent.
The Packers declined to tender Crabtree a restricted tender, but that doesn’t mean he lacks value. He is a sound blocker and despite not being a big time target caught three TD passes last year. He’s really no more than a number 2 TE, but he could offer cheap value to the Skins.
Morrah is an athletically gifted TE, but has had injury issues that have kept him from seeing the field too much. He’s a former 7th round pick, but showed enough for the Seahawks to get him on the field whenever he was healthy. He could be a nice cheap movement TE option, if he checks out medically.
Edelman has been an highly effective punt returner and special teamer for the Patriots. He’s also worked moderately effectively as a slot receiver as well when forced into action. He shown a ton of versatility over the years including being forced into action as a defensive back in 2011. He could help the Redskins as a special teamer, return man, back-up slot receiver and a guy who can run a lot of gadget plays particularly with RGIII. He’s essentially the skill position version of Lorenzo Alexander. He’s not a star by any standard, but will likely offer a big return on his investment given his versatility.
Nelson is coming off a bad knee injury, but he’s got great size and is a fairly sure-handed possession receiver. He’s worked some in the slot (though Shanahan typically prefers smaller/quicker receivers for that role) which gives him some added versatility.
Jones is coming off a 40 catch season for the Bills, but they decided to not tender him a contract. He would be an interesting cheap depth signing who may have some upside. He’s got solid speed and could vie for a back-up role. He did miss time due to an illness last year, which does raise some concerns about him passing his physical.
Reynaud is a hybrid WR/RB who has just just a combined total of 21 rushes and receptions for 68 yards to his name, but he could be a nice addition to the Redskins. Last year he was a dynamic return man for the Titans, returning a combined three return touchdowns last year and averaged an impressive 13.2 yards per punt return. He could also offer more than Brandon Banks in a specialty role.
The former Carolina Panther and Minnesota Viking has experience starting at both guard and tackle, where he’s been at least solid. He’s a fairly athletic offensive lineman who should fit the zone blocking scheme well. He’s reportedly looking for a shot at a starting job and that is something the Redskins can definitely offer.
Harris was Mike Shanahan’s RT in Denver, and could fill the same role here. He was forced into duty last year for the Texans and performed pretty well. He’s a great fit for the zone blocking scheme and while injuries are a concern, they help in this area as it should keep his contract demands pretty low (especially in a deep tackle market). He obviously isn’t a safe long term option, but when he’s healthy he’d make the Redskins a more dangerous team.
Turner has great versatility and was forced into a starting role last year do to injuries with the Rams and got over 1,000 snaps. Last year he primarily played inside, but he’s capable of playing tackle as well. He’s maybe not the best starting option, but that versatility and experience would be valuable on a Redskins offensive line whose four current back-ups: Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt, and Tom Compton have fewer than a 1,000 combined NFL snaps (and are almost all by Hurt).
Richardson has never been really considered a good starting caliber OT, but last season with the St. Louis Rams he more than held his own. He’s still young and has a fair amount of experience. He should be cheap and while the upgrade would probably be minimal, it is still better than going with the status quo.
Garner has experience at both tackle and guard, but got an extended look at RT when Jake Long was down due to injury. He’d be a nice stop gap option, who offers some versatility as well. Won’t be the cheapest option out there, but is one of the more consistent ones.