The NFL offseason is in full swing with teams evaluating prospects at the combine and preparing for the beginning of free agency. Free agency offers teams the ability to address a particular need or secure a very talented veteran. The ultimate goal with any signing is to achieve both.
The Washington Redskins are no strangers to free agency and developed a poor reputation they are still trying to overcome. The early years under Dan Snyder were marred by lavish signings of high-priced free agents who added little value to the team. Most notably is the Albert Haynesworth signing that cost the Redskins over $40 million for minimal production and a constant locker-room headache.
With general manager Bruce Allen in charge of personnel moves, the Redskins have transitioned to a more fiscally responsible organization. Nevertheless, there are always temptations in free agency, and this year is no exception. Here, we will examine five players the Redskins must avoid signing in 2013.
Early in the 2012 season, Brent Grimes appeared to be one of the best corners in the NFL. An early Achilles tear changed everything for the Atlanta Falcons star, who is scheduled to hit free agency in a few weeks. Despite this injury, Grimes will be a highly sought after free agent, commanding an expensive salary.
It is no secret that the Redskins are in the market for secondary help, but Grimes is not the player to be targeting. Between the recent injury and high price tag, Grimes represents a significant investment that the Redskins need to avoid. The Burgundy and Gold would be best served targeting lower-cost corners in free agency and the draft.
Rey Maualuga was part of the highly touted USC linebacker trio along with Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews. Despite his collegiate success, Maualuga has struggled to produce consistently for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL. In 2012, undrafted rookie Vontaze Burfict overtook Maualuga and appears to have the starting job going forward.
The Redskins have one of the best inside linebackers in London Fletcher, but he is beginning to show signs of aging. There may be a temptation to bring in another inside linebacker for more depth, but Maualuga is not that player. Maualuga is ideally suited playing as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 and therefore not a fit in the Redskins scheme.
The Philadelphia Eagles shelled out big money to acquire the former Oakland lockdown corner in 2011. However, since joining the Eagles, Nnamdi Asomugha has failed to live up to his elite status and is clearly past his prime. With Asomugha scheduled to make $15 million next season, the Eagles have announced they will release him if he is unwilling to restructure his contract.
While Asomugha is not a free agent today, there is a strong likelihood that he will be part of the 2013 free-agent class. In the old Dan Snyder days, this is exactly the type of player the Redskins would target with an expensive deal. However, the Redskins are moving in a new direction under Bruce Allen and would be best served by avoiding Asomugha.
Charles Woodson is one of the most prolific safeties in the NFL and is now out of a job. After making a career out of big plays, the Green Bay Packers have released Woodson and other teams are beginning to show interest. Woodson may be on his last leg in the NFL, but there is still plenty of talent there to upgrade any defensive unit.
Along with cornerbacks, the Redskins are looking to add at least one safety to the roster. While Woodson has the splashy resume to entice most teams, he is not the type of player a team can build around. The Redskins have a young unit that would be best served by adding a player who can be with the team for many years to come.
It is hard to believe, but Jake Long may hit the open market next month. Elite left tackles rarely are available in free agency, but the Miami Dolphins have failed to re-sign their former No. 1 overall pick. It is unclear at this time how much money Jake Long is looking for, but the number is likely a significant investment.
The Redskins do not have a need at left tackle with Trent Williams blossoming into one of the best blindside protectors. However, there is a desperate need at right tackle, and Jake Long has long been thought of as a more natural, mauling right tackle. Despite a possible fit, Jake Long is far too expensive to fit in the Redskins salary cap given the $18 million cap penalty.