Loadholt has been a key cog in Adrian Peterson's remarkable return from injury. (AP)
Our friends at RotoWorld do a masterful job of keeping an eye on the future. That's why I refer to them, at this time of year, for a list of the best available free agents.
From that list, the Redskins will search for players that fit their style. But perhaps more importantly, they will seek players that can fill the club's needs.
Please note that RotoWorld has a Free Agent Master List as well, which includes players that will likely be franchise-tagged by their respective clubs.
It will be extremely important for Washington to hit home runs in free agency because of a penalty they incurred on March 12. On that day, the Redskins got smacked with a $36 million fine for front-loading contracts in 2010, which was an uncapped year for each of the NFL's 32 teams.
The league warned the Redskins at least six times about "salary dumping" and the consequences that it could lead to. It then confirmed that the punishment fit the crime.
Washington lost $18 million in 2012 cap space and will lose another $18 million when free agency begins in March. Therefore, the Redskins must be careful not to overspend if they decide to cast some bids.
Free agents with talent to burn include quarterback Seneca Wallace and tackles Chad Clifton and Phil Loadholt. Guard/tackle Adam Goldberg could also be a fit, at a discount price.
Wallace has the experience and mobility to act as a viable backup to RGIII, if Washington decides to deal Kirk Cousins. Vince Young could also be a veteran fit, but he hasn't played a down since the preseason with Buffalo. Nevertheless, Young is "determined" to make a comeback.
Clifton was released by Green Bay after back surgery last April, but he is 36 and could be solid if he is healthy and would make a switch from left to right tackle.
Minnesota's Loadholt recently opened talks with the Vikings on a long-term contract extension. According to RotoWorld.com, the Vikings have "$8.546 million in salary cap space" and Loadholt's a priority because he has started every game but one at right tackle in his four-year career (53 games). In other words, the Redskins would have to act fast to lure Loadholt away from the Vikes.
Meanwhile, Goldberg was a 38-game starter at guard in St. Louis from 2009 to 2011. He is also versatile enough to serve as a backup tackle.
On defense, the Redskins must determine the future of captain and team leader London Fletcher. At 37, Fletcher may seek to retire after 15 phenomenal seasons. But he would be welcomed back with open arms, if he chose to play out the final year of a two-year deal he signed last April (for $10.75 million with $5.25 million guaranteed).
If Fletcher decides to hang up his cleats, Washington could try to lure former Minnesota middle linebacker E.J. Henderson. Other veteran free agents at the position include former Colts' star Gary Brackett, current New England and former Cowboys linebacker Bobby Carpenter and 2009 fourth overall draft pick Aaron Curry, who was recently released by the Oakland Raiders.
Washington could upgrade along its defensive line with defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove. Hargrove was released by Green Bay in August, when head to serve an eight-game suspension for his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal. Former San Diego Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo could also be considered, if he can return from recurring back issues.
At safety, the Redskins could try to reign in Jairus Byrd from Buffalo, but the Bills may want Kirk Cousins in return. Of course, Washington could pounce when Byrd becomes a free agent, but the Bills will likely slap the franchise tag on him, which would require the Redskins to give up a first-round draft pick that they don't possess.
Washington could settle for former Giant Deon Grant, who played an integral role in New York's 2011 Super Bowl run. Veterans Brodney Poole and Melvin Bullitt are also available in free agency, as is former Indianapolis star Bob Sanders. Poole is a long-time favorite of Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, while Bullitt and Sanders would have to prove that their injury-prone bodies can still withstand the rigors of the NFL.