At the outset of the offseason, you never would have guessed that by the time March came to an end the Washington Redskins would have signed nearly twice as many free agents as they lost to other teams.
The 'Skins had to scratch and claw merely to sneak under the salary cap in time, and yet they've found a way to keep the vast majority of the roster together. That bodes well for their chances of winning back-to-back division titles for the first time since 1984 and 1985.
With only a move or two lingering, let's assess and review what has happened in Washington during free agency.
Washington only technically lost two starters, but Cedric Griffin was the nickel cornerback, so it's sort of like three. All three come from the secondary, which was already the team's Achilles' heel to begin with. That's scary.
The good news is that one of Redskins' additions, the underrated E.J. Biggers from Tampa, will replace Griffin. I have him color-coded to replace Hall because that's the starting spot he'll take, but in reality, he'll stick to outside coverage, which was Griffin's role the majority of the time. If they don't find a way to bring Hall back, they'll be left with limited options to cover the slot.
The Redskins used some of the limited cap space they have left on Fred Davis, who was re-signed Friday. That's a huge move for the offense, which is now pretty much set for next season.
The only question is whether that leaves them enough money to further invest in the defensive backfield. I mentioned that Hall could return, but veteran corner Antoine Winfield is also a possibility. Winfield was the league's best all-around cornerback in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus, but he also turns 36 this summer.
Without a first-round pick, the Redskins will improve their free-agency grade if they can wrap up one more veteran corner.
I don't care about the loss of Williams at safety, nor do the 'Skins. He struggled badly in 2012 and has no business starting in this league anymore. Washington will have to hope that it can land a solid, NFL-ready safety in the draft—someone who can cover—while also praying that Brandon Meriweather and/or Tanard Jackson and/or Reed Doughty and/or DeJon Gomes can emerge.
I'm truly impressed that the 'Skins were able to work around an $18 million salary cap sanction without restructuring too many contracts and were able to bring back Davis, Lichtensteiger and Polumbus while also bringing in Biggers, Trueblood, Pashos and Tapp.
Fresh blood with plenty of experience.
They do lose some points for letting Pro Bowl special-teamer and superb backup linebacker Lorenzo Alexander get away, but it could have been a whole lot worse.
Best signing: E.J. Biggers. I explain in great detail right here.
Worst signing: Darryl Tapp. It's only a one-year deal, but this seems like an odd fit.
"Best" loss: Madieu Williams. Good riddance. He was terrible in coverage.
Worst loss: DeAngelo Hall. He was their best corner down the stretch in 2012. If they can't bring him back, the secondary will take a hit.
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