Analyzing Redskins' Free Agency Moves so Far
Due to the destructive nature of the $36 million cap penalty leveled on the Washington Redskins, there is little the team has been able to do to improve the roster. Extensions are hard to negotiate (see Alexander, Lorenzo) and impact free agents are nearly impossible to come by.
Despite this, the Redskins have made some pretty good in-house moves thus far as they look to repeat as NFC East champions. There is a lot of work still to be done, but the correct moves are being made.
There won't be any big names coming to D.C. this summer, but Washington is doing all it can to alleviate the sting of the penalty in other fiscally responsible ways.
3 years, $7 million
After choosing not to place the franchise tag on tight end Fred Davis, signing Logan Paulsen became paramount for the Redskins. Paulsen is nothing special, but he's a grinder who gets the job done. It would be nice to have been able to keep Davis around because of his immense potential, but Paulsen is a solid replacement who developed an undeniable rapport with Robert Griffin III in 2012.
The contract is manageable and well structured. It'll only count $2.3 million against the cap per year, and Paulsen only clocks in as the 26th-highest paid tight end in the league. He's quickly turning into a fan favorite, and his cap-friendly deal will only accentuate that.
2 years, $2.4 million
Sav Rocca is coming off of some pretty serious meniscus surgery, but he's sticking around for two more years. The 39-year-old punter averaged 43.9 yards per boot in 2012 and should perform well during the rest of his tenure with the team.
Some may point to his age as a deterrent to re-signing him, but he's as solid a punter as there is in the league. He landed 32 percent of his kicks inside the 20-yard line and consistently proves to be a solid directional punter. His relatively cheap deal is a good move for the burgundy and gold.
1 year, amount currently unknown
Rob Jackson's contract status is still a little iffy—it's not confirmed how much he'll make yet with his agreement in principle. The surprise of the whole situation is how quickly a deal got done. It might have been assumed prior to negotiations that Jackson was worth quite a lot; he's a career backup but played superbly in 2012 after Brian Orakpo went down.
The re-signing of Jackson opens the door for a formidable one-two punch at outside linebacker. The departure of Lorenzo Alexander will also give Jackson more playing time. He's got some deficiencies, but he's a very good player and should put together another good season. His performance could determine whether or not the Redskins sign him to a long-term deal in 2014.
1 year, amount currently unknown
The one free agent the Redskins have signed so far is former Browns right tackle Tony Pashos. Pashos isn't flashy and is certainly not a big name, but he's the perfect pickup. Washington's offensive line was solid in 2012 but the right tackle position was in something of a rut with Tyler Polumbus holding down the fort.
It remains to be seen who will win the job, but Pashos certainly provides depth at a position that the Redskins have neglected to address for years.
It's uncertain how much Pashos will make, but rest assured it's not a huge amount. He'll be a role player, but could be a nice surprise as well. He's a nine-year veteran and is bringing much-needed experience to the trenches.
5 years, amount currently unknown
The Shanahans are smart. They've realized that they really had something going last season in the run game, and have opted to adopt the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" policy. Kory Lichtensteiger won't blow you away with talent, but he performed very well in 2012 and was a big part of Alfred Morris' record-setting year at running back.
Redskins fans may be disillusioned by the length of the contract, but it's a necessity. The salary is not yet known, but it's a long-term deal because each year added on takes a bit off of the cap hit. Signing Lichtensteiger for five years may have been the only way to stay under the cap, and the Redskins realized that there were no other options.
It was essential to re-sign him, and Washington has to be happy it got done quickly.
3 years, $6.2 million
After a surprisingly good year, Darrel Young is cashing in. The 26-year old fullback paved the way for Alfred Morris last season and was a must-sign after he became a free agent. He's young, he's talented and he's a fan favorite.
The good thing about Young is that he's multi-faceted. He showed the ability to run and catch in 2012 and fans should look for more of the same in 2013. He's an up-and-coming player who will make a big impact in the next few years and could sign a long-term deal in 2016.
4 years, amount currently unknown
Nick Sundberg will always be remembered for breaking his forearm against the Saints in Week 1 and playing through it anyway. He'll be a welcome returnee because of his toughness and his tendency to make very few mistakes. Long snapper isn't a position that should be taken for granted, and Sundberg solidifies the position.
The fact that Redskins signed him for four years ensures that they won't have to worry about addressing the position in the near future. They can rest easy as long as Sundberg plays mistake-free football.
3 years, $5.2 million
Kedric Golston isn't flashy, but he's been in Washington for a while and knows how to get the job done. He's provided depth at defensive end for years and will be coming back for a little while longer. Golston doesn't fill up the stat sheet, but he doesn't have to. As a backup in a 3-4 scheme, he's a space-eater and a gap-filler. He does those jobs very well.
It's a good deal for the Redskins. His contract will count just $1.7 million against the cap. He will continue to be a force off the bench and could end up spending the rest of his career in Washington.
The Ones That Got Away
There are two notable players the Redskins were not able to retain: DeAngelo Hall and Lorenzo Alexander.
Hall was released in a cap-relief move. His departure saved the Redskins $8 million this season, opening the door for other signings. Hall might have been the Redskins' best corner (which tells you all you need to know about the state of the position), but he severely underperformed what his salary commanded. Replacing him won't be easy, but this was an addition by subtraction move.
Alexander is a different story. He's a fan favorite in D.C. and was coming off a Pro Bowl appearance. In the end, that accomplishment may have been what drove him to Arizona. His asking price became too high and he jumped ship.
The Redskins could have used him at linebacker in 2013, but he'll be wreaking havoc in the desert now. The loss of Alexander will hurt, but there was nothing Washington could do about it given the cap situation.