The Washington Redskins are several weeks into their offseason transition, and the question on many minds is "what's next?" The wave of bulk scouting is underway with the Senior Bowl practices this week and NFL combine around the corner. These events will be followed by the opening of free agency on March 12th and the NFL Draft beginning April 25th.
Each offseason brings a wave of change to the team's composition and final 53-man roster. The infusion of youth and talent from free agency and the draft couples with the exodus of overpaid and expiring veteran contracts.
This piece will examine three critical questions the Washington Redskins must seek to answer in the coming months. Keep in mind that some of these questions may be answered with simple additions to the roster, while others will not be complete until opening day.
The 2013 offseason will begin with some difficult decisions and many may appear to take the team in reverse. Some key veterans are up for free agency and others have contracts that will need to be restructured.
Two of the biggest veteran contracts on the roster are DeAngelo Hall and London Fletcher. Both are due astronomical base salaries, which will directly affect the available cap space. If either hopes to stay with the team, they will both need to sign team-friendly contracts.
Other key free agents from the team include Brandon Meriweather, Rob Jackson, Jammal Brown, Fred Davis, Lorenzo Alexander, Madieu Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger and Logan Paulsen.
This team is preparing for a mass exodus if there are not some key resignings.
The question over who stays and who goes will come down to price and value. Players such as Jammal Brown and Fred Davis may be too expensive to keep in comparison to their contribution. Others, such as Lorenzo Alexander and Logan Paulsen, have been playing for pennies while delivering consistent play for the past few seasons.
The injury to Robert Griffin III in the Redskins playoff game was one of the most gut-wrenching scenes of the 2012 season. There are few players who came in and turned a team around the way Griffin did, and it was difficult to watch the season cripple along with his ligaments.
Going forward, the Redskins will absolutely have the conversation of whether the offense must change to try and preserve Griffin for seasons to come. The primary feedback will have to come from both Shanahans, the doctors and Griffin himself.
The argument is a double-edged sword because while everyone wants to keep their star player healthy for as long as possible, at what cost are you willing to prioritize health?
The Washington Nationals made a calculated call in similar vain with the health of Stephan Strasburg, and it hurt them in the playoff run. While neither answer is the clear winner, the team will need to know, above all else, what it's new direction will be heading into 2013.
There are two glaring units on the Redskins which have been needing improvement for a long time. The 2012 season was no exception to this rule, and the offensive line and defensive secondary are still in need of repair.
The offensive line supported one of the NFL's best rushing attacks this year. However, there were also clear weaknesses in pass protection, particularly from the right side. Between the NFL Draft and free agency, a new right tackle must be one of the clear priorities for upgrading this team.
In the secondary new talent is needed at the cornerback and safety position. It is unclear if DeAngelo Hall will be back with the team and the Redskins' safety unit was a clear mess this year.
Look for the Redskins to add a key starter in the draft with one of their first few picks.