The Washington Redskins suffered some serious setbacks in 2013 after capturing the NFC East crown the year before. Although they have talent on both sides of the ball, they lack consistency at some key positions. They will have a good amount of cap space to work with this offseason, which they should use to bolster their roster.
It's hard to say which was a greater hindrance last season—their offensive line or their secondary. Both areas obviously need work, and Washington will have a chance to help itself once free agency officially opens in March.
The Redskins could opt to spend big money on a talented, big-name player, but there's no telling whether that signing will turn into a legend like London Fletcher or a disaster like Albert Haynesworth. They could likely find a solid player whom they wouldn't have to pay as much, but the risk of spending a lot might be worth it, depending on the person.
They had some luck in free agency after the Haynesworth catastrophe, namely with receiver Pierre Garcon, who has paid major dividends since they acquired him two offseasons ago.
The Redskins could abide by a few philosophies once free agency starts, but the main objective is to patch up their secondary and offensive line.
Here are three free agents they should consider.
Alterraun Verner, CB
Alterraun Verner has been one of the most consistent defenders in the AFC over the past couple of seasons and posted career bests in interceptions and passes defensed this past season. At age 25, he's still young and could be a long-term solution for the Redskins at corner.
They don't have a whole lot of talent at the cornerback position outside of DeAngelo Hall, but he's also set to be a free agent. Even if they do re-sign Hall, they will still need another corner to hold things down on the other sideline.
They did select David Amerson in the second round of last year's draft, but he's still coming into his own as an NFL player, although he performed well down the stretch this season.
Verner would likely require a big contract, but he looks like he would be a worthy investment, although Washington may be wary of giving that much money away. If the team does decide to give someone big money, Verner would be a great choice.
Kerry Rhodes, S
I'm surprised Kerry Rhodes has been unemployed for this long. He had a great year in 2012 with the Arizona Cardinals, tallying 67 tackles, four interceptions and 10 passes defensed. He's a very good hitter who also does well in coverage.
He would not only be a major upgrade for Washington's secondary, but he would also bring veteran leadership to the young defensive backs who need it. The Redskins drafted Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo last year, but they haven't exactly panned out yet.
Rambo struggled but did have some promising moments, while Thomas missed the entire season with a foot injury. Rhodes could help to develop the two youngsters while also filling a major need. In addition, with the retirement of Fletcher, Rhodes could be the veteran leader that Washington will be losing.
He would be a cap-smart signing who could play well for the Redskins until Thomas or Rambo is ready to take over.
Eugene Monroe, OT
The Redskins boast one of the NFL's best young linemen in Trent Williams, but they desperately need an upgrade across from him. Eugene Monroe, once a top-10 pick, played very well for the Baltimore Ravens toward the end of 2013.
He allowed just four sacks and played competently in the running game, which means he'll likely require a good amount of money, but the Redskins have it. Frankly, for some consistency across from Williams, the money would be well spent.
Monroe would ameliorate the right tackle position for Washington, and that would be a huge boost to the offense.