Where do the Redskins go from here in free agency?: Part 2- Defense
DL: Alex Carrington, Pat Sims, Terrence Cody, Ryan Pickett, Colin Cole, Brett Kiesel, Aubrayo Franklin, Issac Soponga
-The Redskins have already added Jason Hatcher and Clinton Geathers in free agency and re-signed Chris Baker. The Redskins are likely to look to add anymore defensive linemen in the draft, but could keep an eye on the market in case any prices fall. The Redskins also could release Stephen Bowen and Kedric Golston if they find any more free agents that make sense. The best name out there is Alex Carrington who has flashed some nice potential during his time with the Bills. Ryan Pickett and Brett Kiesel are good vets, who could help at a rotational level for a year. Sims has some familiarity with Gruden as he was in Cincy in 2011 and 2012. Cody, Cole, Franklin and Soponga are all nose tackle options an area that isn’t really set behind starter Barry Cofield. Likely they will only sign one of these guys if it’s for a league minimum deal, but things could change if they don’t plan on drafting anyone and they do cut either Bowen or Golston.
OLB: Anthony Spencer, James Harrison, O’Brien Schofield, Parys Harrelson, Rob Jackson
-The Redskins are set with their starters, but in terms of depth all they have is 5th rounder Brandon Jenkins. The team would likely want to add a veteran to the mix. Spencer has already visited the team and the Redskins are probably hoping for a cheap 1 year deal after he’s coming off micro fracture surgery. He’d be a role player and only really see action on pass rushing downs, but that depth and the ability to add an extra rusher can be tempting. Another guy who could fit that role is James Harrison. Harrison might have one more year left in the tank and in going back to more of a 3-4 role could see a boost in production from him. Gruden is going to be quite familiar with him, not only due to their time on the Bengals last year, but having to scheme against him the previous two seasons. Schofield has been considered a solid pass rusher, but a failed physical negated a 2 year contract with the Giants. At a cheaper rate on a 1 year deal he could be an asset for the Redskins. Harrelson has been a solid back-up/situational guy who can get after the quarterback some. He’s got plenty of 3-4 experience and would be a solid pick-up. The Redskins could also look to bring Rob Jackson back. At this point his market has probably collapsed and they can sign him to a 1 year deal.
-The Redskins have already added Darryl Sharpton as the projected starter and back-up Adam Hayward, but they might not be done just yet. There are reports they are still interested in some ILB’s and it could be an indication that Keenan Robinson‘s spot is in jeopardy. Arthur Moats and Akeem Jordan make a lot of sense with their soft market since they are both local guys from Virginia who played their college ball at JMU. Moats is the younger and better player, but Jordan is likely to be cheaper. Both could be upgrades and challenge Sharpton for that starting role. If they want to just add depth Dane Fletcher formerly of the Patriots could make a lot of sense. He’s primarily been a special teamer (huge need in Washington), but has filled in a fair amount over the last 4 years with New England and has held his own. Bryan Kehl was on the team last year and has a nice history of being a solid special teamer. He’s coming off an ACL injury, but the team could sign him on a league minimum deal to compete for a spot in camp.
CB: Terrell Thomas, Carlos Rogers, Rashead Mathis, Mike Jenkins, Josh Wilson
-The Redskins re-signed DeAngelo Hall and signed Tracy Porter so they could probably be okay just using a draft pick to bolster the position, but given how much uncertainty is in this group and some off the veteran names on the market they could add another name. Hall should be locked into the top corner spot, but after that there is a lot of unknown. David Amerson is expected to be the number 2 corner, but he couldn’t beat out Josh Wilson last year and he had some issues despite facing mainly 2nd and 3rd tier guys. Tracy Porter was signed, but he’s dealt with serious injury issues in his past and his play has been streaky at times. Beyond them the Redskins have just 2012 7th rounder Richard Crawford who is coming off an ACL injury and 2012 UDFA Chase Minnifield who has yet to play a snap in an NFL game (and has also had some serious injury issues in the past). Adding a veteran on a cheap 1 or 2 year deal could make a lot of sense as insurance. Thomas, Rogers, Jenkins and Wilson all have slot ability and can play outside as well. Mathis is more of an outside corner, but he’s been pretty good in his career and he offers nice size. Wilson will likely be the cheapest of the group and obviously has experience with much of the staff and some of the other defensive backs. A couple of these guys could also get some consideration for moving to safety, or at least being used in a hybrid CB/S role (Thomas and Mathis are the best options).
S: Ryan Clark, Chris Clemons, Thomas DeCoud, Major Wright, James Ihedigbo, Steve Gregory, Kerry Rhodes, Kendrick Lewis, Chris Crocker, Reed Doughty
-The Redskins haven’t addressed the safety position yet and while it’s unlikely they find any true answers on the market they should be able to get some stop gaps on the cheap. Veteran Ryan Clark has already visited and he could definitely be a leader on this team and in this unit. He is older but has still been playing at a high level. Chris Clemons has been a solid-to-good starter the past two years at free safety. He’s not a dynamic playmaker, but he doesn’t get burnt much in coverage. With a defense that figures to generate more pressure this year, that skill is pretty key. DeCoud was considered a pretty good FS before last year, last season though was ugly and leads to him having a soft market. Still he’s under 30 and could be a good bounce back candidate. Major Wright is just 25 and prior to this past season was considered an up-and-coming strong safety. He struggled last year as the whole Bears defense collapsed and was a liability, but he’s still young and well worth a look at. Ihedigbo beat out 1st round pick Matt Elam for a starting role last season and played very well at Strong Safety. He’s mainly been a fill in guy and good special teamer prior to that, but he’s still fairly young and has played for a number of good defensive minds during his time with the Jets, Pats and Ravens. Steve Gregory is another guy who’s been with the Patriots and has been a solid strong safety special teamer for them. He could be a nice cheap fill in. Chris Crocker has been with the Bengals the last three years and despite being older is still a solid cover guy. He’s not a guy who can play 1,000 snaps anymore, but perhaps you consider platooning him with a Phillip Thomas. Though he may not be the first choice of many Redskins fans, bringing back Reed Doughty on a 1 year league minimum deal makes a lot of sense. He was one of the few special teams players who made some plays, and when he’s been called upon has been better than people give him credit for.
The Redskins will likely target a safety in the draft, but adding 2-3 free agents makes sense given how thin this position is.