Playing for a Contract: Defense Part 2
Yesterday I looked at front 7 defenders who were playing for a contract this season, today I will focus on guys in the secondary on expiring deals:
1. CB Josh Wilson:
-Wilson is the Redskins most consistent cornerback, and despite lacking the flashiness of DeAngelo Hall, is thought by some as the Skins best corner. His play declined some last year, but it was revealed that he played most of the season with a torn pectoral muscle and labrum. Wilson cut his salary by $2 million this offseason to free up some cap money for the Redskins to sign their draft picks. His health for the season is a bit up in the air, but right now he is expected to be fine for camp and the season. If he regains his 2011 level of play, the Redskins could look to bring him back in 2014. Wilson will need to stay healthy, but if the price is right should be back in at least a slot role next year.
2. CB DeAngelo Hall:
-Hall had another poor season not only in giving up too many catches and yards, but also by committing too many costly penalties. The Redskins released Hall given his $8 million non-guaranteed contract and re-signed him for $1.25 million (with an extra $1 million in incentives). With the Redskins drafting David Amerson, who is a similar high risk/high reward type of player, Hall will need to have a big season if he wants to be back in 2014. The Redskins can ill afford another year of Hall consistently getting beat and giving opposing quarterbacks plenty of freedom to work against him at will. Hall will also need to prove to keep his temper in check and be a better member of the team. Though Hall’s ball-hawking can create some big plays, it won’t be enough to guarantee him a job going forward. Hall will need more consistent games like Week 17 when he took out Dez Bryant for much of the game, and helped the Redskins win the game and the division.
3. CB E.J. Biggers:
-Biggers finally earned a starting job last season, but unfortunately it was as part of arguably the worst secondary in the league. Though Biggers was considered to have done a solid to good job, the Buccaneers moved on into a different direction and there really weren’t any starting offers out there for him. Biggers decided to join the Redskins and his former coach Raheem Morris, and a chance to play a significant role this season. Though he isn’t expected to win a starting job at this point, Wilson and Hall don’t have those roles set in stone. If Biggers has a good season and shows promise the Redskins will definitely look to invest in him long term, given his youth and size. While the Redskins do like creating turnovers, the best thing for Biggers to do is show that he can give consistent coverage and not give up as many catches and yards as the team has the past couple of years.
4. S Brandon Meriweather:
-Meriweather is the Redskins most talented safety on the roster (though that bar isn’t set too high), unfortunately the Redskins only saw him for a half last season as a series of knee injuries sidelined him for the rest of the time. Even worse was the final injury was an ACL tear, that occurred in November. Though the expectation is that he will be fully ready for training camp and the regular season, these injuries have a high setback rate. Also, it typically takes a full year to recover back to full strength from ACL injuries so it is likely that Meriweather’s play will be down to at least start the year. For Meriweather to come back in 2014 he is going to need to significantly exceed expectations this year. You have a guy coming off back-to-back seasons where he was benched by his former teams (Patriots and Bears) and then he suffers a serious knee injury.
5. S Reed Doughty:
-Doughty is entering his 8th year in the league and on the Redskins, but the question is will he still have a place on this team after the Redskins drafted a pair of safeties this year. For 2013 Doughty is safe given the injury concerns of Meriweather and having a pair of rookies, but will the team bring him back in 2014? In all probability Doughty will be back given his leadership and special teams play alone. Doughty has also shown himself to be a decent back-up safety, with quality in the box play. The key for Doughty though is his special teams play. With Lorenzo Alexander gone, Doughty’s special teams ability is even more important, if he continues to play at this level on special teams the Redskins will surely look to bring him back. The team may look to reduce his salary slightly given the new salary cap paradigm teams are working with now.