Checking in on some Redskins free agent options:

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The Redskins have only signed defensive lineman Stephen Paea so far in free agency and appear to be taking a fairly measured approach. Here is a look at some free agent options that might make sense for the Redskins. Today I will focus on offensive line, defensive line and pass rusher options. I’ll look at defensive back options tomorrow

Offensive Line:

G/C Stefen Wisniewski:

-Wisniewski is the son of the former Raider great and a former 2nd round pick. He’s played both guard and center and overall played at a pretty high level. While it is unlikey that the Redskins look to spend good money on many free agents this offseason Wisniewski figures to be the exception to the role. He’s young, talented and would immediately bolster the interior of the Redskins offensive line and give them another building block to go along with Trent Williams.

G Justin Blalock:

-The Former Falcon offensive lineman is coming off a down year and that was a big part of the reason why he was cut (and his price tag), but that shouldn’t discourage the Redskins to take a look at him. He’s been very healthy and productive throughout his career and he could be a nice two year stop gap at guard that shouldn’t be too expensive.

T Joe Barksdale:

-The Rams right tackle so far has had a pretty cold market, but he’d be an intriguing guy for the Redskins to consider. He’s played well overall for St. Louis the last two years and would clearly be an upgrade for the Redskins at RT. With Tom Compton not showing much last year and Morgan Moses coming back from an injury, it makes sense that the Redskins might feel the need to spend some resources on this position. Barksdale would be a nice long term option and potentially give the Redskins one of the better tackle tandems in the league.

T Anthony Collins:

-Collins was a long time back-up/spot starter in Cincinnati before leaving last season to man the LT position for the Tampa Buccaneers. Though he had played some LT with the Bengals, he profiled better as a right tackle so it’s not surprising that he quickly got exposed in Tampa bay with little support around him. Coming off a down year he figures to have a soft market and his connection to Jay Gruden makes him an ideal 2-3 year stopgap option. If he plays like he did with the Bengals the Redskins will have a solid starter at RT and it will give them some time to see what they might have in Moses.

Defensive line:

Randy Starks:

-Starks was born in Virginia and went to HS and College in Maryland so this would be a bit of a homecoming signing. Starks is a veteran player near the end of his career, but he is still productive in a rotational role. He has experience playing all over the line and would fit as a fill in at any position the Redskins could need him at. He still gets pretty decent pressure on the quarterback so he would be a nice insurance policy if either Hatcher or Paea go down with injury.

Red Bryant:

-Bryant was just released by the Jaguars after signing with them last offseason. He’s played in the Seahawks/Jaguars hybrid 4-3 look, which is very similar to most 3-4 defenses. He can play base end and could even get looks as a nose tackle. Despite being older (31), he’s still a very effective run defender. With the reports that the Redskins are interested in Terrence Knighton, they should take a look at Bryant as perhaps a better fit. Both players are very similar as top notch run defenders who offer little in the way of pass rush. Bryant is a guy who is maybe 80% of the player Knighton is, but you can get him at half the price for less years.

Karl Klug:

-Klug has been a solid rotational defensive lineman for the Titans. He’s not a star and maybe never will be a starter, but he consistently gives Tennessee solid production on his 300-400 snaps a season. He’s young, offers some pass rush ability and should come pretty cheaply. Though he is a better pass rusher is run defense is solid.

Alan Branch:

-Branch is another run stuffing 3-4 DE, who should be able to help some at NT as well. He figures to be pretty cheap and could be a solid veteran option in a rotational role. He did have DUI arrest two years ago, but he played for the Patriots last year and was a solid role player.

Pass Rushers:

Brian Orakpo:

-Orakpo coming back on a 1 or 2 year deal on the cheap is still the ideal scenario for the Redskins as it wouldn’t put them in a position to break the bank, or be forced to draft a pass rusher early (though they still could). Orakpo is getting some solid interest on the open market so it is looking like he will probably get a better offer. Some people will say let him walk, but 9 or 10 sacks (particularly given how often he was in coverage) and 45 to 55 pressures a year (which is what Orakpo has done in his healthy seasons) has a lot of value and will be worth more than what he is likely to get on the market.

Akeem Ayers:

-Ayers was a bust in Tennessee but a mid-season trade to the Patriots rekindled his career. He became a situational pass rusher for the Patriots in the 2nd half of the season and did a decent job overall providing edge help. He’ll be just 26 next season and should be able to be signed for a moderate contract, that likely won’t have a lot of guaranteed money in case he doesn’t work out. He could be a solid option to pair with Trent Murphy in the hopes that the pair of them can handle the crucial ROLB role.

Dwight Freeney:

-Most probably won’t consider Freeney a smart signing for the Redskins, but if they don’t bring back Orakpo they need to ensure they have a stronger pass rush. While they could fill that role via the 5th pick in the draft, if they trade back they might not find the type of impact pass rusher they are looking for. Freeney could represent the perfect cheap stop gap option. He played under DC Joe Barry the past two years in San Diego and showed that he still has situational pass rush ability. He only managed 3.5 sacks last season, but got 49 pressures in just about 400 pass rushes. While you want to see the sack number higher, that pressure number is really strong. Signing Freeney to a cheap 1 year deal ($2-4 million) could allow the Redskins to ensure they have a productive pass rush and keep their options open for the 5th pick.


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