NFL free agency began in earnest this week and the massive deals have been flying off the desks of general managers. The Washington Redskins, however, seem to be taking a cautious approach. Many teams are jockeying to add new talent and discard players that are deemed expendable. Aging, bloated contracts, injuries, and lack of production are just some of the reasons why teams are jettisoning certain players. By adding new talent, these same teams are looking for better players with reasonable contracts and an infusion of youth. Hope springs eternal.
Washington Redskins: Free Agency Focus
The Redskins have made a few moves during this off-season and hope to improve the roster this week, but the main focus continues to center on the upcoming draft next month. Added to the team on Thursday was former Seattle Seahawks receiver Paul Richardson and he brings an element to the receiving corps that was lacking last season – speed. Punter Sam Irwin Hill was also signed on Thursday, but he is expected to be nothing more than a camp body this summer. The biggest off-season move thus far involved a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. Talented cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round draft choice were traded for franchise quarterback Alex Smith.
Players returning under new deals include Quinton Dunbar, Mason Foster, Deshazor Everett, Dustin Hopkins, Brian Quick, and Zach Brown. Likely to return on new deals in the coming days and weeks could include Junior Galette, Chris Carter, Zach Vigil, and Phil Taylor. One player that many in the football world considered to be expendable was tight end Jordan Reed. He has been injured often and has seen his production dwindle over the last two seasons, but the front office may choose to keep the versatile tight end on the roster with a new signal caller at the helm. Would the powers that be at Redskins Park consider a trade for Reed? It’s entirely possible but considered unlikely at this juncture. However, one player is on the trading block accordingly to many in the Redskins media – strong safety Su’a Cravens. The talented play-maker left the team just prior to the 2017 season and was eventually diagnosed with concussion symptoms. He was sidelined all of last season and it seems as if Cravens has burned some bridges at Redskins Park. If a trade market for him fails to materialize, then look for his release by late summer.
Remaining free agents from the 2017 roster include Terrelle Pryor, Shawn Lauvao, DeAngelo Hall, Arthur Jones, Tony Bergstrom, and Will Compton. Some of these players would be too expensive to remain on the roster and a few of them are older veterans that may retire. These positions will obviously be addressed in the draft with youthful talent and less expensive contracts. After the initial excitement of free agency settles down, don’t be surprised if a marquee player is released by another team next month. The Redskins have added these types of players for reasonable contracts in the past. This is how Josh Norman and DeSean Jackson came to the Redskins in recent years.
While the offense has been a key area of attention in the opening days of free agency, the defense will be the focal point of this year’s draft. Expect a few defensive linemen (possibly two players), a strong safety, and cornerbacks (maybe as many as three) to be selected later next month. A wide receiver can’t be ruled out as well and it is possible that a developmental quarterback will be added in the later rounds. However, keep a watch on free agency for now.
Does all of this mean the Redskins will be ultra-active in free agency? Not necessarily. The front office will target only certain players and keep the additions to a minimum. The draft is where the Redskins look to make a greater impact. However, don’t be surprised if the front office makes one significant move before the draft.