Stay or Go: Which Free Agents Should the Washington Redskins Bring Back in 2013?
With 2013 standing as the final year in which the team will face an $18 million cap hit, the Washington Redskins need to be especially careful when deciding which unsigned players deserve a new contract.
Holes at the cornerback and safety position certainly make free-agent names like Brent Grimes and Aqib Talib sound very attractive for a talented young team.
However, the Redskins front office must first deal with what the team already has.
A 2012 Pro Bowler and the team's starting tight end are just two of 13 unrestricted free agents who could leave town if a contract is not completed.
But not everyone will be fortunate enough to return Washington.
Who should stay? And who should go?
Let me answer the first part of the question for you now...
Finally, Lorenzo Alexander has received credit for his hard work.
This year's Pro Bowl nomination showed the rest of the world what Washington Redskins fans have known for years.
That Alexander is a fantastic all-around football player.
Known mostly for his dominating presence on special teams, Alexander has recently extended his role beyond kickoff returns.
And after finishing eighth on the team in tackles as a reserve this past season, it appears as though the rest of the league is beginning to take note.
Unfortunately, such an acknowledgement might mean that the Redskins will have to pay a higher price for the six-year veteran out of California.
However, if Alexander can offer a hometown discount, there is no reason why Washington shouldn't give him a new contract.
As Rex Grossman's favorite target and an invaluable part of the Washington Redskins offense, Fred Davis is a name that fans would like to see stick around the D.C. area.
Yes, his stock may have fallen thanks to the addition of Pierre Garcon and an injured Achilles.
But the USC product has proved during his short time in the NFL that he can produce when healthy and focused.
Some minor off-the-field issues regarding marijuana charges could help the Redskins in contract discussions; however, the issues simply aren't alarming enough to pass on a talent like Davis.
The emergence of Logan Paulsen during Davis' absence this past season means Washington won't be forced to pay top dollar, and the increasingly utilized tight end position has proved extremely valuable to some of the league's most potent offenses.
Provided that he can stay healthy, I think there is little question regarding Fred Davis' status with the Redskins.
Until this past season, you might be hard-pressed to find a fan aware of Rob Jackson's existence.
And now, he is a fan favorite in the nation's capital.
The linebacker out of Kansas State made a name for himself in 2012 when he intercepted an Andy Dalton pass in the end zone during his first career start in Week 3.
Since, Jackson has done nothing but impress.
Playing alongside veterans like London Fletcher helped the fourth-year linebacker develop into a complete player this past season. And Jackson has four interceptions to show for it.
Perhaps linebacker isn't the most glaring need for Washington at this time. But with Fletcher's status now up in the air and a relatively inexperienced defense overall, a cost-effective contract for Jackson could prove to be a valuable move for the Redskins.
...Is that German?
Chances are that the number of people familiar with the name Kory Lichtensteiger outside of the D.C. area is very few.
Take a survey on the streets of the Washington and you might find the same thing.
But few Redskins were more important to Washington's success than the team's left guard this past season.
Working alongside Pro Bowler Trent Williams, Lichtensteiger helped anchor the NFL's leading rushing attack in 2012. And that came just one season after the team finished 25th in the same statistical category.
It could be argued that the addition of the versatile Robert Griffin III helped pad that number for the Redskins.
But the health and cohesion of the offensive line deserves most of the credit.
There's an old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
So I don't see any reason why the Washington Redskins would want to make any adjustments to their offensive line.
Tyler Polumbus is another name that the casual fan might have to read twice over during player introductions.
But like Kory Lichtensteiger, his presence up front helped carry a team to their first division title since 1999.
Making just $700,000, Polumbus helped seal the right edge of the line for Washington's single-season rushing record-holder, Alfred Morris.
He may have accounted for the only missed game by a Redskins offensive lineman over the course of the entire 16-game schedule; however, Tyler Polumbus deserves a payday for his production from this past season.