Washington Redskins Front Office Deserves Praise for Smart Fiscal Moves
So maybe it's not your typical Washington Redskins offseason. Although we haven't seen Adam Archuleta and Albert Haynesworth deals since Mike Shanahan took over in 2010, Redskins fans are accustomed to at least a few splashes here and there when it comes to the free agency pool.
But here we sit, just three weeks away from the draft, and arguably the Redskins' biggest signing has been a relatively unknown cornerback by the name of E.J. Biggers.
Not even with a first-round draft pick, how is it that anyone can get excited for the Redskins' offseason?
It starts with the front office and taking care of business at home.
After winning the rugged NFC East last season, the Redskins held on to important role players on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Tight end Logan Paulsen and fullback Darrel Young may not frequent the box score, but both are key blockers in the run game and each provide a safety valve for Robert Griffin III. It was imperative they return.
As one of Shanahan's favorite guys in the trenches, guard Korey Licthensteiger was also re-signed, along with tackle Tyler Polumbus. Maybe Polumbus doesn't grade like an NFL starter, but keeping the offensive line consistent goes a long way. Bringing these guys back was by design.
Then you look at general manager Bruce Allen and the pen.
Albeit limited in quantity, the Redskins went ahead with some advantageous salary restructures that help to create wiggle room with the limited cap space they have.
Sharing that particular spotlight with Allen would be the players themselves. Although restructuring isn't necessarily a bad thing for the player, steady balance between parties is a must. Restructured salaries like that of Brandon Meriweather, Adam Carriker and Santana Moss were all done with the understanding of what's best for the team.
Let's also not forget about the team's thrifty shopping.
Surely the $18 million cap penalty hampered the Redskins this offseason. And while some will make the argument that the team put themselves in that situation, it's actually the wrongdoings of a previous regime.
Even so, Shanahan and Allen were disciplined shoppers and tough negotiators. They refused to restructure any contract that would put the team in a bind down the road, they remained firm on their price tag for a guy like Fred Davis, and they made tough, necessary decisions on veterans like DeAngelo Hall.
The Redskins re-signed both Davis and Hall, getting both of them on one-year deals and at favorable cap numbers.
Regardless of how the market was manipulated by Davis' injury history or Hall's character concerns, these two guys both wanted to be in Washington. Something can be said for that.
Although aspects of the Redskins' offseason have been easily defined by cap penalties, low activity and RG3's knee, there are brains behind the curtain that deserve a lot of credit. Unfortunately, the work of Shanahan, Allen and the rest of the Redskins brass is lost amongst front page news.
Sure, signing a guy like Biggers doesn't make the splash that signing Sean Smith does. But it works for this team and it comes at a great price.
Rather than overspending for a top-tier corner on the market, the Redskins return their starting corners, add Biggers for depth and return an effective pass rusher from injury that will surely extend to bolstering the pass coverage.
There's no doubt a tackle like Eric Winston would've been a sexier signing to shore up the right side of the offensive line. But a camp battle between veterans Tony Pashos, Jeremy Trueblood, Tyler Polumbus, and last year's draft pick Tom Compton will result in a decent tackle for a much cheaper price.
Were the Redskins forced to act a certain way this offseason? Yes. But it's not a matter of why the Redskins acted the way they did. It's a matter of how they worked their way through what they had to work through—a matter of how the results appear after being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Though the offseason is still in full effect, the Redskins are currently prepared to enter next season with almost every piece in place from an NFC East division-winning squad from a year ago.
And that's not including what comes from the team's seven draft selections later this month and the return (from injury) of Adam Carriker, Fred Davis, Brandon Meriweather and Brian Orakpo.
Shan-Allen isn't perfect. Very few NFL front offices are. But what they've been able to accomplish amidst a two-year, $36 million cap penalty has been beyond impressive and is deserving of serious recognition.
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