Grading Every Redskins Major Offseason Move to Date
So maybe it's not as entertaining (and humorous) as the offseasons of years past.
You know, the ones highlighted with Jeremiah Trotter, Albert Haynesworth and Adam Archuleta?
But that doesn't mean the Washington Redskins have been duds this spring.
Even with limited cap dollars and without a first-round draft pick, the Redskins have remained active throughout the offseason as best they can—landing free agents with upside and adding working parts while on a strict budget.
Although these moves may not seem critical for other teams around the league, they're major for an organization like the Redskins, given the circumstances.
Here we grade the Redskins' offseason moves so far.
2013 Draft Class
The Redskins entered the draft last April with glaring needs at both cornerback and safety, while their situation at right tackle was also deemed spotty.
With their first-round pick already invested in some guy by the name of Robert Griffin III, the Redskins began work with the 51st-overall pick in the second round and snagged a sizable corner with good ball skills in David Amerson.
The following round, head coach Mike Shanahan raised a few eyebrows when he selected tight end Jordan Reed. Although the pick itself wasn't all that wild for the roster, many weren't expecting it.
In the fourth, the Redskins grabbed a well-touted safety in Phillip Thomas, again helping to address the need in the defensive backfield.
The fifth round brought a pair of Florida State Seminoles teammates in running back Chris Thompson at No. 154, and then pass rusher Brandon Jenkins just eight picks later.
The Redskins then landed their steal of the draft in the sixth round when Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo was left floating around, and Shanahan thought the ball-hawking centerfielder had too much talent to pass up.
Finally, in the seventh, Shanahan pulled his expected late-round flier by way of Jawan Jamison—a versatile running back with more bulk than flash.
Although the Redskins may not have touched the offensive line, they did walk away from the draft with a decent haul of potential playmakers, while also filling needs and adding depth.
My hands may be worn to rubble from pounding the table each round Tennessee Tech receiver Da'Rick Rogers remained on the board, but there's certainly no negativity in regards to the Redskins' month of April.
Signing E.J. Biggers
The Redskins' need at cornerback was apparent well before the draft, but their wallet remained strapped and the market for the position was taking odd turns.
In March, about a month before draft day, the Redskins signed free agent E.J. Biggers in order to provide depth and reunite him with Raheem Morris, his former head coach in Tampa Bay who now serves as defensive backs coach in Washington.
Despite not being a top-tier free agent, Biggers has experience in the league and he has shown flashes of what might be. Doing so consistently, however, remains in question.
Biggers wasn't brought in to start. He was brought in to provide depth—to serve as a seasoned corner who wasn't past his prime in terms of age and serving as an injury risk.
Given their cap-strapped scenario, landing Biggers on a friendly one-year deal worth $1.5 million couldn't have worked out any better. The Redskins get to see what he has to offer, while the 26-year-old Biggers works to prove he's worth a larger deal next season.
Re-Signing DeAngelo Hall
After being released in early March, DeAngelo Hall expressed his desire to stay in Washington and made right on his word, re-signing with the Redskins on a one-year deal worth just $1.25 million.
For possibly the first time in his 10-year career, Hall's lasting moniker of "MeAngelo" was forgotten.
Hall knew the Redskins' cap situation and that his upcoming $7 million salary for 2013 as part of his previous contract wouldn't fly for general manager Bruce Allen and the front office. He either had to take less money, or look for real estate elsewhere.
Not only is the new contract great for the Redskins and their balance sheet, but having Hall back is extremely important, too. Although many will criticize Hall for being selfish and bringing questionable effort on certain plays (myself included), he finished the 2012 season strong and was easily the team's best corner.
It's also important to note Hall's willingness to take less money to stay where he is. Beyond playing for his childhood team, Hall obviously likes the direction of the organization, he enjoys his teammates and he appreciates his coaches. I'd expect a solid season out of him in 2013.
Signing Xavier Nixon
Based solely off potential, signing undrafted free agent Xavier Nixon following the draft could turn out to be a major move for the Redskins this offseason.
Due to his technique and inconsistency, the Florida offensive tackle went undrafted last April. But because the Redskins had some inconsistency of their own at the position—and Nixon demonstrated the athleticism necessary to succeed in Shanahan's offense—Washington came calling.
Don't expect much from Nixon this season. A safe bet would be practice squad and development. But he comes with a lot of upside that Redskins fans could see on display as early as next season.
Costing them very little to do so, the Redskins brought on an athletic project with a high upside at a position that can afford the attention.
Grade: A (with nothing to lose)
All in for Week 1
For sponsor commercials? Maybe. For ticket sales? Okay.
It really doesn't matter the reason RG3 is all in for Week 1. The fact that the Redskins organization is behind Robert Griffin III's attempt to start the season on time rather than treating him like a porcelain doll is a major move in itself.
Following the Redskins' home playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks last season, I was the guy telling everyone the next time we'd see RG3 was September 2014. There was no chance I'd put him on the field next season.
Then things changed.
Griffin had his surgery...doctors thought everything looked great...Griffin knew everything went great...rehab was stellar...coaches started feeling optimistic...and then a commercial comes out with Griffin saying he's all in for Week 1.
And here's the thing: If Griffin is 100 percent, then by all means play him. Stem cell, HGH, whatever. If Griffin is fully recovered, then he's your starter come Week 1. Fraidy-cat fans such as myself have already been quieted with such an impressive rehab stint, and none of us expect to be disappointed when Griffin takes the field this season.
The best news is that the Redskins don't appear timid, either. If Griffin says he's ready to go, the coaches trust him. His teammates do, too. That's a move that pays dividends now, for the upcoming season and for years to come.
Signing Lance Lewis
At this point I'm probably better known as the president of the Lance Lewis fan club, but I wouldn't continue preaching this guy if I didn't think he deserved it.
After Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan, the Redskins receiver corps drops off a bit.
While Santana Moss is arguably the most reliable set of hands on the team, he's 34 years old and in the final year of his deal. Not to mention, a healthy Garcon likely means a decrease in his 41 catches from a year ago.
After that, Dezmon Briscoe, Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson each have to prove themselves and show progress in their own right.
Lewis was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of East Carolina last summer. Injuries eventually forced the Redskins to release him prior to the preseason and Lewis landed on injured reserve.
While not the fastest receiver on the field, Lewis has good size (6'2") and solid hands. He plays the position with smarts, uses his body to create separation and possesses good concentration when the ball is en route.
Shanahan has signed veteran receivers Donte Stallworth and Devery Henderson, implying that the position is going to be a monitored test through camp. It's not crazy to think that every guy has a shot.
Why not Lance?
Grade: A (with nothing to lose)
Signing Donte Stallworth
Speaking of a wide-open position in camp, add veteran Donte Stallworth's name to the list at receiver.
Stallworth spent time with the Redskins back in 2011 before bailing last summer and joining the New England Patriots. Injuries limited Stallworth to barely any time on the field and now he's back in Washington for his second stint at the age of 32.
As mentioned previously, the wide receiver spot doesn't necessarily boast the most threatening of targets after Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan, the latter being a stretch. It's a position that could use a push.
While I'm not here to tell you that Stallworth is in Washington to start games, I will say that he could wind up being a valued asset on a team that could use experienced route-runners with reliable hands.
Two years ago, Stallworth played 11 games for the Redskins, bringing in 22 catches for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Shanahan and the coaching staff loved having him aboard.
Although a spot on the final 53 is far from guaranteed, I wouldn't be surprised to see it.
And when called on, I like Stallworth to step up.
This is another deal for the Redskins that can't hurt them (a very friendly one-year) and can only help them if Stallworth makes the team.
Signing Pat White
This move was a major one, but for all the wrong reasons.
When the Redskins signed quarterback Pat White in early April, fans took that to mean he was absolutely on the team and backing up Robert Griffin III as team's second read-option fit.
What do they have planned for him? Is the Wildcat a new staple in the offense?
In actuality, White has a better chance of making the Redskins roster at a position other than quarterback.
The Redskins signed White because they needed a guy who could pose similar athleticism and speed from the quarterback position in order to prepare the team (both offense and defense) by keeping them on their toes.
And as one of the most successful college read-option spread quarterbacks in history, White certainly fit the bill.
Of course, if White ends up sticking with the team and utilizing his athleticism and vision at a position other than quarterback, well, then the Redskins are even smarter than we all think.
Grade: C+ (because what appeared to be the majority initial reaction felt weird)
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