Washington Redskins' Blueprint for Winning Free Agency
Despite their fighting efforts, the team will enter their second consecutive free-agent period with a hampering cap penalty in place. As a result, the Redskins will have to remain thrifty with their spending—similar to last spring with the secondary.
Here's a handful of names the Redskins should keep an eye on, all of whom could fit the criteria.
Regardless of whether DeAngelo Hall is with the Redskins next season, the secondary needs help.
Derek Cox was a third-round pick four years ago after attending nearby William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. At 6'1", 188 pounds, Cox offers good size for the position and he can effectively press at the line.
According to Pro Football Focus, Cox was the 71st-ranked corner last season, and his services would fit well in Washington.
The glaring concern with Cox is his durability. After missing 14 games over the past two seasons, one has to wonder if they're going to pay a guy and not even have him on the field.
At the right price—taking his injury concerns into account—Cox could be one of the better gets this offseason.
Set to turn 34 this June and bringing along a $6.2 million cap hit, there's a real chance the Redskins will be without veteran receiver Santana Moss next season.
And if that's the case, Mike Shanahan could be looking to fill the void with a reliable short-yardage target.
Enter, Julian Edelman.
Like some of the other guys on this list, Edelman comes with some of his own injury concerns. Not to mention, there's no telling that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is willing to let Edelman sign elsewhere.
Since being drafted in the seventh round back in 2009, Edelman has demonstrated his versatility in New England in the form of receiver, return man and defensive back.
For the Redskins, he'd have the potential to start at both slot receiver and punt returner.
For his career, Edelman has 69 catches for 714 yards and four touchdowns in 48 career games. He's set to turn 27 in May.
Hitting even closer to home than Derek Cox, cornerback Greg Toler is a local product who's on the Redskins' radar, according to John Keim of the Washington Examiner.
After attending Northwestern High School near D.C., Toler didn't quite have the grades to get into a top college program. He later enrolled at St. Paul's College, a Division II school in southern Virginia.
Toler was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft. In 2010, Toler started 13 of the 14 games he played, recording 79 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Expected to start the 2011 season, Toler tore his ACL in August and was forced to miss the entire season.
Despite being one year removed from injury, teams are going to express interest in Toler.
The Redskins obviously don't have a lot of money to spend, but they could have the upper hand in the situation given that they're Toler's hometown team and he'd have a good opportunity to start.
Mike Shanahan selected tackle Ryan Harris in the third round of the 2007 NFL draft back when he was head coach of the Denver Broncos.
Harris was hit with the injury bug in 2009, eventually leading to his release in Denver. He then signed briefly with Philadelphia before undergoing back surgery and being waived by the Eagles.
The Texans signed Harris in early September last season and he played in all but one game for Houston.
Harris shows up on the Redskins' radar for obvious reasons. Not only is the team in dire need of help on the right side, but he's a Shanahan guy who fits the zone-blocking scheme. His durability over the past few years could also make the price a bit more friendly for the strapped Washington wallet.
According to PFF, Harris earned a 4.2 rating last year—good for 39th among all tackles who played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps.
The Redskins, unfortunately, may not even have the funds to compete with others like the Browns or Lions.
Despite an ugly minus-10.3 rating from PFF for last season, Cason would start right away.
And don't forget about the recently hired front office executive, AJ Smith. He was responsible for drafting Cason in the first round back in 2008.
At 6'1", 192 pounds, Cason has good size for the position and he's an able tackler. He'll turn 27 in July.
The re-signing of restricted free agent Logan Paulsen was an important move for the Redskins moving forward, but the tight end position isn't shored up yet.
If the Redskins can't get something done with Fred Davis (coming off an Achilles injury) and his camp, the team will have to look elsewhere.
Personally, I hope Travis Kelce is a huge blip on the team's draft radar.
But if you're looking to grab a heady veteran who brings versatility to an offense, Texans tight end James Casey makes a lot of sense.
Like Cason, however, Casey will be a player who's courted by more than a handful of teams, and the money may not be there in order to land him in Washington.
Casey started nine of the 16 games he played in last season, hauling in 34 catches for 330 yards and three scores. He'll be 29 in September.
Kyle Arrington is another corner whose local ties could add some flavor to the decision-making process.
Although Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald notes Arrington would like to remain in New England, if he had the slightest desire to come home for a reasonable price he'd be a steal for the Redskins this offseason.
PFF ranked Arrington as the 44th-best corner last season in 844 snaps played. Front offices will get bigger eyes, however, over Arrington's impressive seven interceptions in 2011.
Set to turn 27 in August, Arrington would be a nice addition to the Washington secondary.
The talks between the Redskins and Fred Davis aren't a forgotten memory by any means, but exploring the tight end position as a precaution is a wise move by the club.
Myers, who will turn 28 in September, blew up in Oakland last season with 79 catches for 806 yards and four touchdowns.
Despite not possessing the explosiveness of Davis, Myers fits the bill as a sizable (6'3", 256 lbs) pass-catcher with good route-running experience.
I'm not sure whether or not it depends on the future of Davis in Washington, but I'd keep an eye on Myers as the period progresses.
After talking to some Tampa Bay football nerds over the weekend, I've heard a lot about the inconsistencies in E.J. Biggers' game. But for two primary reasons, I'd be willing to bet he's on Washington's radar.
For obvious starters, the secondary needs help. Perhaps Biggers isn't a starter, but he's a guy that can come in and cover on obvious passing downs.
Secondly, Biggers was drafted by Tampa Bay in the final round of the 2009 draft. In 2009, Raheem Morris was the head coach of the Buccaneers. Biggers is a Morris guy.
If Morris has good things to say about Biggers, then the soon-to-be 26-year-old corner could join the Redskins for a reasonable price.
This is a long shot for the Redskins. Not only would safety Chris Clemons probably demand too much money, but he's also in extensive discussions with the Miami Dolphins, according to Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald.
If things were to fall through with the Dolphins though, the Redskins have to at least see what they're working with.
Clemons will turn 28 in September and he's coming off a good season in Miami, playing well in pass coverage, according to PFF.
I'm very much on board for the Redskins drafting a safety with their first pick in the second round. But that doesn't necessarily mean the front office is predicting the availability of a guy like Jonathan Cyprien the same way I am.