15 Free Agents the Washington Redskins Should Avoid at All Costs
Free agency has long been the Achilles heel of the Washington Redskins, who have only recently come to the realization that teams are built not bought with Mike Shanahan at the helm. Even so, there is only so much building that can be done before there becomes a need to contract some positions out.
This year's projected class of free agents is both tantalizing and terrifying, featuring a number of players the Redskins should avoid entirely.
Due to the cap penalties they incurred following the uncapped year, the Redskins find themselves at a bit of a deficit when it comes to cap room, though restructuring contracts and putting some veterans out to pasture could open some things up.
No matter how much the 'Skins end up having available for free agents, here are the players they should steer clear of at all costs.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Philadelphia Eagles
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is young, talented and would be a huge boost to a Washington secondary that showed no ability to stop the pass. On the other, hand, DRC has a problem keeping his head in the game, and the Redskins do not need to spend money on a player who will quit on them.
They already have a hot-and-cold corner in DeAngelo Hall and do not need a second overpriced defender who can frustrate as much as prove to be an asset.
Dysfunction is the last thing Washington's defense needs, and inconsistency is a close second. Rodgers-Comartie has flashed his coverage skills,and shown a nose for the ball, but after intercepting 10 passes in his first two seasons, he has just six over his last three.
Granted, two of those picks went for touchdowns, but he's also likely to carry a steep price tag the Redskins simply can't afford.
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers
The Redskins offense always seems to be in the market for receivers, even when they seemed to have the problem solved. They signed Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan last offseason, but Garcon struggled with a foot injury, and Morgan had a habit of disappearing for long stretches of games.
Greg Jennings would be a great complement to a healthy Garcon if he wasn't coming off a season of injury himself.
Consider the popular opinion that the seven-year vet is out of Green Bay after missing nine games and scoring just two touchdowns. Also consider that, even healthy in 2011, Jennings failed to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in three seasons.
At 29 years of age, Jennings may have some years left in him, but the Redskins aren't in a position to take the risk on a player who has missed 12 games in over the last two seasons.
Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Over the course of the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons, Mike Wallace caught 132 passes for 2,450 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 18.8 yards per catch in the process. Then he spent this past offseason making outlandish contract demands.
He followed up two impressive seasons with a solid, but underwhelming, 64 catches for 836 yards and eight touchdowns at 13.1 yards per catch.
Wallace did not do that, and while he would be an incredible asset alongside Pierre Garcon, it isn't worth the frustration of a big mouth or absurd $10 and $11 million contract demands for two seasons of sub-elite play.
Andre Smith, OT, Cincinnati Bengals
This season, Andre Smith had one of his best years since being drafted sixth overall in 2009. He isn't the best in pass protection, but he is a punishing run-blocker who would be a huge upgrade over Tyler Polumbus on the right side of the Redskins' offensive line.
While the Redskins offense would benefit greatly from having a right tackle to pave the way for their top-ranked rushing attack, they do not need to give top dollar to a player who hasn't shown he is capable or willing to perform at the highest level for the life of his contract.
Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears have themselves a new head coach, bringing a new scheme to the defense, and Brian Urlacher is likely seeing the end of his time as the face of the franchise. He'll be 35 in May and simply hasn't been the same player in the last four or five seasons.
Washington is going to have to deal with life after London Fletcher if he decides not to return next season; they shouldn't sign an aging veteran on the decline to fill the void.
Urlacher has seen a lot of miles in Chicago and has missed 19 games in his last four seasons, including a hamstring injury that claimed four games this season. More alarming are the injuries that aren't apparent with Urlacher, particularly concussions that he is likely to have played through before the recent surge of awareness.
Tracy Porter, CB, Denver Broncos
Make no mistake, Tracy Porter is a talented cornerback whom any NFL team would be overjoyed to have on their roster. However, he suffered a concussion this season and had a seizure during the offseason that is more than alarming.
There's no reason to think the seizure was anything but an isolated incident, but can the Redskins, or any team for that matter, afford to risk not only their own money, but an individual's health in such a way?
Injuries are a part of the game, knees, ankles, fingers, toes, ribs, etc. They'll be sprained, broken and the like no matter what position you play. Seizures, however, are a different story. They could be exacerbated by serious head injuries, or if they occur in the field of play, could jeopardize a player's career.
Shaun Phillips, OLB, San Diego Chargers
Shaun Philips will be 33 in May, and though he notched 9.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries this season, his best years are behind him. The Redskins will be getting Brian Orakpo back from injury next season and have plenty of depth on the outside.
Rob Jackson proved himself capable as a starter and would be overshadowed by the bigger name in Phillips.
Simply put, Phillips isn't going to turn in double-digit sack seasons anymore, and if he came to Washington, he'd have fewer opportunities with Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan getting the lion's share of snaps.
Even moving Phillips inside would be a stretch, though Perry Riley's penchant for disappearing would be put to the test with some competition.
Rey Maualuga, LB, Cincinnati Bengals
The 2009 NFL draft was highlighted by a trio of USC linebackers, presumable led by Rey Maualuga. Four seasons later, Clay Matthews is the outright best of the three, while Brian Cushing earned Defense Rookie of the Year honors.
Maualuga is still waiting for a breakout that may never happen, and the Redskins can't bank on his name or purported potential.
He lacks great speed, is suspect in coverage and doesn't seem to show the same nose for the ball he appeared to have at USC. Maualuga has increased his tackles every season since his rookie year but doesn't make many plays otherwise.
He has just two sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in his career. For comparison, Perry Riley, in three seasons, has 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles to go along with a 129 tackle season in 2012, seven better than Maualuga's 122.
Louis Delmas, FS, Detroit Lions
Washington's need at safety, as great as it may be, does not need to overpay the best player from a so-so secondary to try to solve the issue. Louis Delmas is a solid safety, but missed half of the season and has never really established himself as an elite safety in his four short seasons.
Though just 25, Delmas has proven himself reliable and hard-hitting, but that isn't enough for the Redskins to consider signing him.
His injury may bring his price down considerably, but Delmas isn't the type of player to change the makeup of a secondary in desperate need of help. The Redskins need a ball hawk more than a heavy hitter, and Delmas has just three interceptions in his career, which isn't worth a big contract.
Dashon Goldson, FS, San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers defense has become one of the best units in the NFL, and Dashon Goldson has played a big role in the success of the fourth-ranked pass defense. Goldson has nine interceptions over the last two seasons, and regardless of his Super Bowl performance, will be in for a big payday if he hits the open market.
Washington could use a veteran presence at free safety, particularly one with experience in the playoffs and in big games, but Goldson's value skyrockets by virtue of playing as part of one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The biggest issue in considering Goldson as a solution at free safety is that, at 28 years of age, he doesn't have many paydays left, and will be looking for his last big payday before he transitions to shorter deals as he gets older.
The Redskins don't need to invest in a player who could break down in his first season and have to eat a bunch of guaranteed money.
LaRon Landry, SS, New York Jets
LaRon Landry put in a solid season for the New York Jets, tallying a career-high 99 tackles, forcing a career-high four fumbles, returning an interception for his first career interception and playing a full season for the first time since his 2008.
Regardless of what he did with the Jets, under no circumstances should the Redskins see Landry as an option to fix their ailing secondary.
Landry and the Redskins parted ways in seemingly bitter fashion after the two sides disagreed on the handling of his Achilles injury. Landry has found greener pastures with the Gang Green, and while Washington could use a heavy-hitting, refocused safety like Landry, the 'Skins don't need to revisit the past.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
It doesn't make sense for the Redskins to pursue a running back this offseason, considering they find themselves with a bit of a surplus in their backfield. Alfred Morris emerged as a workhorse, while Evan Royster performed admirably in relief duty. Roy Helu spent the season on IR, and it remains to be seen how the team handles his situation.
That being said, Mike Shanahan likes running backs, and it isn't beyond him to go looking for players anywhere he can.
Mendenhall is still young, and despite missing 10 games due to injury last season, could be an asset in any backfield. However, he's a bit of a malcontent and would be far too pricey to bring in for limited duty. That is, assuming Morris becomes the unquestioned starter for the foreseeable future.
Branden Albert, OT, Kansas City Chiefs
It is highly unlikely that Andy Reid will let Kansas City's left tackle hit the free-agent market, and for good reason. Branden Albert is a young, talented left tackle who is an understated franchise left tackle.
At least he is when he's on the field and not battling chronic back issues that kept him out of three games this season and could keep him from achieving the height of his abilities.
The Redskins would love to convert a good left tackle into an excellent right tackle, but they can't count on a player like Albert to be on the field week in and week out. They just got out of a situation with Jammal Brown who, while an underrated presence at right tackle when healthy, couldn't get on the field because of a lingering hip injury.
Brandon Moore, G, New York Jets
It wasn't long ago that the New York Jets offensive line was among the best in the NFL, and even a terrible situation at quarterback can't change that. Brandon Moore has been an iron man since his second season, starting his last 128 games.
At 33, Moore still has some years left, but those 128 straight starts and 144 career games take a toll on a player.
The Redskins seem set at right guard with Chris Chester, but the growing injury concern regarding Kory Lichtensteiger may lead them to seek depth. With Josh LeRibeus likely next in line to be the starter should Lichtensteiger fail to remain healthy over the course of the season, Moore wouldn't really add much to the mix.
There's no discounting the value of a veteran presence, but Moore isn't ready to be a depth signing just yet and would cost the Redskins too much to sit on the bench.
Fred Davis, TE, Washington Redskins
Maybe it is personal bias, but Fred Davis just doesn't seem worth the trouble anymore. He started his career missing his alarms for practice, and just when he looked to be turning a corner toward elite status, he incurs a four-game suspension for drug use.
He was franchise-tagged before the season, as the Redskins hoped he would show his true form and earn their trust as well as a shiny new contract, but landed on IR after tearing his Achilles.
Davis, while athletic and talented, has yet to turn in a full season of excellent production. In the past, casting young talent aside for one reason or another has been a pet peeve, but with tight ends becoming a staple of the NFL, there are bound to be more talented, more reliable options in the draft.