The official opening of NFL free agency is not for another month, but the Washington Redskins are already off to the races. March 12 is the official start of the new season and opening day of free agency. However, some teams have made preemptive moves and are already addressing offseason needs.
The defensive line was already a position of strength for the Redskins and the addition of Brace makes it more likely that the Redskins will be addressing other positions in the coming months. The offensive line and secondary are key areas of need but which players should be targeted? This piece will examine five specific free agents the Redskins should be targeting this offseason.
It may be hard to remember but just a few years ago, the Redskins had one of the best tight end duos in Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. In 2013, it is possible that neither player will be sporting the burgundy and gold. With Cooley at the end of his career and the future of Fred Davis in limbo, the Redskins need to consider adding at least one tight end in free agency.
Brandon Myers is a name that some fantasy players will know but for the most part is a hidden gem. Last season, Myers hauled in 79 catches for over 800 yards from the mixed bag of Oakland quarterbacks. Myers represents a similar talent to Fred Davis and will likely come at a fraction of the cost.
The Redskins secondary is in need of upgrades at both cornerback and safety. The team will likely have to use a mixed approach with players from the draft and free agency to fill the gap.
Terrence McGee is one of the newest members of the free agency class as he was released by the Bills this afternoon. While not the dynamic turnover and return threat he used to be, McGee represents a quality stopgap. The Redskins secondary woes will not be fixed in one season or with the addition of one player, but McGee can help fill some of gaps in coverage right away.
The Redskins' offensive line performed above expectations in 2012 and helped create the leagues best rushing attack. However, the unit still struggles in pass protection and more depth is drastically needed. In addition, Kory Lichtensteiger is a free agent and his future is uncertain in DC.
Eben Britton is a name many are familiar with but unsure of where he has been hiding. Britton was a high second round pick out of Arizona but has struggled with injuries and position changes in Jacksonville. Currently, multiple sources are confirming that the Jaguars have no intention of resigning Britton.
Picking up discards from another team is always a risky maneuver as there is a clear record of the player under-performing. In Britton, there lies a wealth of talent that was mismanaged and held back by injuries. Finally healthy, Britton is a low risk, high reward free agent that has the ability and experience to fit in Washington's zone blocking scheme.
While I normally do not include current team members who have yet to hit the market, Alexander is a special exception. Lorenzo Alexander is a one man wrecking crew that can play more positions than anyone else on the Redskins. This perennial special teams all star is scheduled to hit the open market in less than one month and the Redskins cannot allow this to happen.
Alexander is a uniquely talented player who has carved out a niche in Washington. With experience at kickoff coverage, punt coverage, defensive line and linebacker, Alexander is a valuable asset that provides depth across the roster. With injuries always just one play away, the Redskins need to protect their biggest jack-of-all trades.
In addition to a free agent cornerback, the Redskins need to be actively pursuing moderately priced coverage safeties. Between injuries and poor free agent acquisitions, the Redskins safety core was abysmal last season. If the Redskins have hopes of defending their division title, they will need to stop the bleeding at safety.
Rashad Johnson was a hot name coming out of college but has found little recognition in the deserts of Arizona. This former Alabama standout, has impressive talent and will remind Redskins fans of a better DeJon Gomes. Johnson may not have the prototypical size but is always in position and ready to make the big turnover.