5 Veteran Free Agents the Washington Redskins Should Bring in to Camp
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This offseason has been a quiet one in Washington, but improvements have certainly been made. Despite the Washington Redskins taking this step forward, there is still much they can cultivate, and there are some free agents out there who would fit what they're looking for.
Even with their cap-restricted spending money, there are moves to be made.
While they’re more than likely out of the running for big stars like John Abraham, there are plenty more guys out there for an affordable price who could have a similar impact if used correctly (key word: correctly).
At this point in time, the Redskins are not in a position to make a big splash on the depth chart, nor should they. This is a time where they must solidify their weaker positions on the roster by adding depth and bringing in competition for the guys they have.
Even though Washington certainly can’t afford to sign all the players on this list, they should definitely consider signing one or two of them.
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Casey Hampton is a guy whom not many would expect to be on this list. He’s nearing 36, was cut by the team he’s spent his entire career with, his best days are behind him and Washington already has Barry Cofield. But that doesn’t mean he can’t still make a positive impact to some degree.
Cofield is also getting up there in age, and he’s going to be wearing down more easily as the season progresses. While he is the untested starter, Hampton would be a solid, big-bodied guy to have in rotation at the nose tackle position.
He isn’t a three-down player anymore, but Hampton would be a great guy to have in against the run game and on the goal line.
Hell, it’d even be fun to even see him (all 325 pounds of him) line up as an extra blocker on offense.
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Nate Clements is not a guy on a whole lot of teams’ minds.
He’s had a pretty steady decrease in production over the past four years or so, but he’s still someone who can make plays. He recorded 53 tackles in 2012 along with a forced fumble and an interception. It’s obvious this guy can still play, just not at the level he used to.
Clements would be a solid pickup for Washington and would add some veteran depth to the team's cornerback stable.
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Here’s another guy y’all might not have expected.
When the Baltimore Ravens surprisingly released Vonta Leach, speculation of where the nine-year veteran would end up began immediately. There was some talk between Leach and Redskins' division-rival New York Giants, but negotiations seem to have fizzled out.
With Darrel Young already on the roster, most people would consider the Redskins to be pretty set when it comes to fullback, and they are. However, Leach is a special player.
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Within Dukes’ spirited oration, he mentions how Brandon Lloyd failed to meet expectations (by a lot) while he played with the Redskins, but Lloyd proceeded to go to the Denver Broncos and catch a ton of touchdowns, which made Skins fans even more bitter about his lack of production.
That being said, that was then and this is now.
Back then he was being thrown to by Rex Grossman, and this time around he would have a rising star in RG3 throwing him the ball. He will also not be depended on as the No. 1 receiver, so he will have a better opportunity to stay healthy and produce offensively.
Washington wouldn’t be counting on Lloyd the same way they depend on Garçon, Morgan and Moss—it would be a minimized role with opportunities to make plays when called upon.
With Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan firmly atop the depth chart at wide receiver and Santana Moss not too far behind them, there isn’t a big hole for Lloyd to fill or anything; this would be considered more as insurance if Leonard Hankerson continues to underachieve. While many believe this will be Hank’s year, nothing is guaranteed.
Even though teams aren’t normally too worried about their receivers that far down the depth chart, Lloyd could prove to become a valuable wild card when the Redskins need a big play.
Who knows, maybe second time is the charm for Lloyd and Washington.
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Eric Winston is probably the best fit for the Redskins out of anyone on this list.
He’s got great size for a right tackle at 6’6”, 305 pounds and has experience in the same zone-blocking scheme that Shanahan runs.
On paper, these parties are a great fit, but somehow there haven’t been much (if any) known talks between them. This is most likely because he’s a bit too pricey for the team at this point.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Winston was the 26th best tackle in the NFL last year and is surely one of the better blockers in the NFL, which means he deserves good money.
While he wouldn’t be getting a bank-breaking contract from the Redskins this time around, the situation is certainly favorable for him.
Winston is someone who is at the midpoint of his career and is looking for the success that has escaped him his whole career. He was cut by the Houston Texans before their recent playoff success and last year was on a miserable Kansas City Chiefs team.
Washington experienced a major turn in culture last season, winning their division for the first time in ages. They’re certainly on the come up, and that’s something that Winston has to like. Protecting one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL in RG3 and blocking for the steamroller Morris has got to sound fun for a veteran guy like Winston.
While the Redskins have had no expressed interest in the veteran lineman, there’s no way he isn’t on their radar. If his price lowers, then they must consider signing him.
Right now, their right tackle situation is pretty messy. Incumbent starter Tyler Polumbus is pretty bad, and slated backups Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood aren’t leaps and bounds better. In fact, rookie Xavier Nixon might be Washington’s best bet as of now, but that’s not something they can or should bank on.
Winston has to decide which he cares more about—the number of wins his team gets or the number of zeroes on his paycheck. If he would be willing to sign a one-year contract with the Redskins, they could re-work his deal next year when they have more cap room so he could have both a good team and a few more zeroes.
There’s no chance the Redskins front office and coaches see Trueblood, Polumbus or Pashos as long-term answers at the position, so I say cut them and make room for Winston.
Any money that they can free up is good, but they would be taking a risk if they release those three players and Winston doesn’t end up signing.
It would certainly take some wheeling and dealing on Washington’s end, but this could happen.