Dismissing Free Agent Wide Receivers for the Washington Redskins

Shae Cronin@@BetBigDCCorrespondent IFebruary 29, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01: DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Although it appears the Redskins have moved on from their once-common practice of hitting the free-agent market with an open checkbook and no brain, I can only hope that the recent rumors surrounding the franchise and its likely free-agent moves this offseason isn’t an indication of a curse.

According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the Redskins are looking to address their need at wide receiver by hitting the free-agent market strong and landing a top-tier wideout.

“The Washington Redskins are making plans to add a high-profile wide receiver in an NFL free agent market that has them in abundance, according to several people familiar with the team’s deliberations,” Maske writes.

“Several people in the sport said a leading target for the Redskins could be San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson. The issue with Jackson, as with some of the other top receivers with expiring contracts, is whether he will remain available after Monday’s deadline for teams to use their franchise-player tags.”

The article goes on to list Marques Colston and Pierre Garcon as the Redskins’ other primary targets. Maske also drops names like DeSean Jackson, Reggie Wayne, Stevie Johnson, Dwayne Bowe and Mario Manningham.

Like most, I’m in large favor of bringing a playmaker to Washington—and more specifically, a play-making receiver. But unlike most, I’m not intrigued by the free-agent wide receivers this year. Despite the class containing sexy names and looking good in boxscores, I don’t see much embedded quality.

I don’t want to come off as Debbie Downer when it comes to landing a big-time receiver to help bring along Robert Griffin III (hopes and prayers), but I think being realistic is important. After years of being abused by free agency, you could say I’m a little tentative.

First, Maske brings up the point of teams using their franchise tag, which takes names off the list that are here today and gone tomorrow. The easiest example of that would have to be Dwayne Bowe, as I can’t understand any reason why the Chiefs would let him leave Kansas City.

Another guy to receive the franchise tag could be Marques Colston. Assuming that the Saints get a long-term deal finalized with Drew Brees, and taking into account that Colston is unwilling to provide any hometown discount, the Saints could very well slap Colston with the tag and buy 12 months in order to work a new deal.

However, considering New Orleans guard Carl Nicks is more valuable an asset to the Saints organization, perhaps they choose to use the tag on Nicks, who is also a free agent this year. In such a case, Colston hits the open market at 29 years old and with a history of durability issues.

There were whispers of Vincent Jackson and the Washington Redskins just a couple years ago, but the rocky relationship between Jackson and the San Diego Chargers apparently took a turn for the better and he remained in SoCal.

To make things even more bizarre, Kevin Acee of the Union-Tribune San Diego reported just last week that Jackson would be willing to give the Chargers a hometown discount and that he wanted to remain in San Diego. Huh?

That would be just fine by me, as Jackson is one DUI away from a one-year suspension.

Pierre Garcon makes for an interesting lead. Once considered a byproduct of Peyton Manning with inconsistent hands and a fun name, Garcon proved a lot last year when he caught a career-best 70 passes for a career-best 947 yards and six touchdowns, all from the arm of Curtis Painter.

With increased production over the course of his young four-year career, Garcon actually carries some upside in the idea of a free-agent payday. He already declined a $35 million deal from the Colts, but who’s to say if that was because he expects more money or because he doesn’t necessarily believe in the team’s direction moving forward.

For those that catch up on football action via ESPN, Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson is a human highlight reel—just the playmaker the Redskins need. But watch enough Eagles games, and you’ll see what kind of football player DeSean Jackson really is. From watching, listening and observing, I’m still not convinced that Jackson recognizes football as a team sport.

Whether Andy Reid and the Eagles allow Jackson to walk, or slap him with the franchise tag and then trade him, I have no desire to see him in a Redskins uniform. And judging by the way he has filtered this team and attempted to build it on better character, I don’t think Shanahan would either.

Reggie Wayne would be an awesome free agent idea…if he wasn’t 100 years old. Why don’t we take a look at Hines Ward too, while we’re at it?

Reggie may be 67 years younger than 100, but that still exceeds the age limit of the youth movement that Shanahan is implementing in Washington. And if the reports are true that Reggie would like to team-up with Peyton Manning again in a different city, why not Miami? It’s a fit for Peyton and Reggie retires to his old college stompin’ grounds.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Reggie Wayne #87 of the Indianapolis Colts is congratulated by Pierre Garcon #85 after scoring a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Panthers defea
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

If there’s one former Giants offensive player that I could actually deal with suiting-up for the burgundy and gold, I think it’d be Mario Manningham. He sucks now because he plays for New York and I’m not a fan of that team. But I can’t lie and say that I’d still hate him if he played in Washington.

In fact, I like the idea of Manningham with the Redskins next season. My main concern—and I’m sure it’s on the minds of many other front offices—is the fact that Manningham has this lingering issue with his knee. And with any combination of the words knee and injury, I begin to fear the worst.

And then we have Stevie Johnson. He has the size, he has the speed and he has the attitude. He’s only 26 years old and he has the talent to be a very good No. 1 in Washington. But when you think about Johnson’s inconsistency in terms of catching the football, it kind of reminds you of Rod Gardner. Not to mention, Yahoo Sports has reported that Johnson’s agent is “very optimistic” that a deal will get done that keeps Stevie in Buffalo.

I know this appears as if I’m simply terrified of free agent signings in Washington, but I feel it’s more just legitimate concern. With the Redskins’ excess cap space and an overflowing free-agent market of wide receivers, how can anyone ignore the nightmares of offseasons past?