Washington Redskins: 5 Free Agents Still Available That the Team Should Sign Now
The Redskins have had so far a very good free agent offseason. The team addressed its need for a playmaker on offense by signing wide receiver Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. They continued their commitment to fielding a top defense by re-signing defensive end Adam Carriker and signing safety Brandon Meriweather and veteran cornerback Cedric Griffin.
It is disappointing that the heart and soul of the defense, London Fletcher, has yet to be re-signed. The defense runs through him, and his presence is a must next season for the Redskins.
With the Redskins possibly seeking arbitration to fight the stiff salary cap penalty, it is still unknown how much the Redskins will ultimately have left to spend on other free agents. However it ends, the Redskins still have a number of areas that need be addressed. The offensive line has not been addressed yet, and the right tackle and left guard positions are in need of help.
Despite the additions of Meriweather and Griffin, the secondary is still lacking depth and another capable starter at safety. Rex Grossman has re-signed for another year and should help mentor Robert Griffin III next season. The Redskins still need to add another veteran quarterback to replace John Beck and compete with Grossman for the back-up spot.
The five players highlighted are players that would either compete for starting positions or add depth to trouble areas. None of the players are considered elite or top-tier talent and should be able to be signed to relatively cheap contracts.
Aaron Ross, CB
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2011 STATS: 60 tackles, 4 interceptions
The Redskins lack depth at corner. It is likely that neither Phillip Buchanon nor Byron Westbrook will be returning to the team. Recent addition Cedric Griffin will probably also see playing time at the safety position. Kevin Barnes has not played up to expectations, and the Redskins need to sign another cornerback to bolster depth as well as provide competition with Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall for the starting positions.
Aaron Ross is coming off a solid year in which he set his career high for interceptions (four). He also made 12 pass breakups. He has won two Super Bowls with the Giants and brings a winning attitude and mentality to a team that is sorely missing it.
Ross visited with the Redskins last week after a visit with the Bengals, but a deal was not reached. He also spent his entire five-season career with the Giants, so he is very familiar with the NFC East. Ross would be a valuable addition and likely not too costly.
William Gay, CB
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2011 STATS: 61 tackles, two interceptions
William Gay is a physical player who has played in the 3-4 defense for all five years of his NFL career. He is a durable player whom has played in every NFL game of his career. He does not create many turnovers and only has three interceptions for his career.
He won a Super Bowl with the Steelers in 2009 and brings that winning attitude and mentality. He is a "character guy" who has started on one of the NFL's better defenses for the past few seasons and is already very well versed in the 3-4 defense.
Gay would provide depth at the corner position and a relatively cheap price. He is a young player looking for a mid to long-term contract, which the Steelers are likely not to be able to afford. He is an above-average player worth a three-year contract that would upgrade the secondary.
Demetrius Bell, OT
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2011 STATS: 6 starts
The Redskins offensive line struggled all last season. Demetrius Bell is a young tackle that could provide much-needed help on the right side. Bell started all 16 games for the Bills in 2010, but was limited to only seven games last season due to a shoulder injury. Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 2 offensive tackle this free agency and notes that he has steadily improved.
Bell visited the Redskins last week, so hopefully, the Redskins can sign him soon. There are not many options at offensive tackle left in free agency, and Bell would be a valuable addition at right tackle, especially since Jammal Brown has been plagued by hip problems for the past two seasons.
Jake Scott, OG
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2011 STATS: 16 starts
Most of the top interior linemen have already been signed. The Redskins have yet to sign an offensive lineman despite the line being a trouble area. If the Redskins want to protect RG3 and ignite the ground game, then they need to bolster the O-line.
Jake Scott is a seasoned guard that has started every game of his eight-year NFL career since his sophomore season. Health was a concern along the Redskins O-line last season, and bringing in a veteran who has remained healthy his entire career would be reassuring.
Scott would likely replace either Chris Chester or Kory Lichtensteiger, who is coming off of surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral, in the starting rotation. He was a starter on the 2006 Colts team that won the Super Bowl and is another player that brings a winner's resume.
David Garrard, QB
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2010 STATS (DNP 2011): 2,734 yards, 23 TD, 15 interceptions
David Garrard missed the 2011 NFL season because of a herniated disc injury. He is apparently healthy now and has garnered the attention of both the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams. Garrard spent his entire nine-year career with the Jacksonville Jaguars and threw for over 3,000 yards in both the 2008 and 2009 season.
The Redskins have re-signed Rex Grossman to a one-year contract, likely with the intention of Rex mentoring RG3 on the Shanahan offense. John Beck was abysmal in his three starts this past season, and his $1 million salary should be better used on a player that is a viable insurance policy.
Garrard can win games (eight wins in 2010), and the Redskins should be able to sign him to a contract similar to Drew Stanton's with the Jets, which, at $1.25 million, is not much more than what Beck is charging.